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Works Thomas Girtin after James Moore

St Peter's Church, Bexhill, from the East

1793 - 1794

Primary Image: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), St Peter's Church, Bexhill, from the East, 1793–94, graphite and watercolour on paper, 16.5 × 22.2 cm, 6 ½ × 8 ¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99), Bexhill Church, the East End, graphite on paper, measurements unknown. Private Collection.

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • St Peter's Church, Bexhill, from the East
1793 - 1794
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
16.5 × 22.2 cm, 6 ½ × 8 ¾ in
Object Type
Pencil; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Parish Church; Sussex View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Girtin Archive Photograph


James Moore (1762–99); his widow, Mary Moore (née Howett) (d.1835); bequeathed to Anne Miller (1802–90); bequeathed to Edward Mansel Miller (1829–1912); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); bought by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), with the pencil sketch, 1912, £15; sold through the Leicester Galleries, London, November 1912, £26 5s; J. Palser & Sons (stock no.17185); bought by Leggatt Brothers, London, 5 March 1914; Sir Henry Alfred McCardie(1869–1933); his posthumous sale, Sotheby's, 28 June 1933a, lot 57; bought by 'G. D. Thomson' for the Palser Gallery, London, £18 10s

Exhibition History

London, 1912, no.50; Palser Gallery, 1934b, no.24A, 30 gns

About this Work

This watercolour by Girtin of the old parish church of Bexhill was made after a drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see source image TG0175), and he almost certainly did not visit the site himself. Girtin’s earliest patron undertook three trips to Sussex (in 1790, 1793 and 1795), making numerous drawings of the county’s rich architectural heritage. The sketch from which Girtin made his view of the east end of the church is not dated, but it was probably drawn in 1793, predating Moore’s rather more sophisticated architectural view of the church, which Girtin himself seems to have corrected and added to (TG0326). The precise status of the watercolour is very difficult to assess, however, as neither it nor the pencil sketch on which it was based have been seen for many generations, and they are recorded only in poor-quality photographs. Just enough detail is visible to appreciate the way that Girtin has fleshed out Moore’s strictly utilitarian sketch, however, adding a scene of a woman hanging out her washing on a line fixed across the graveyard to the east end of the church. Girtin includes a similar figure group in a second view of St Peter’s Church, which he also painted for Moore from one of the patron’s sketches (TG0255). The view of the church from the south east has the same dimensions and the two were therefore presumably conceived as a pair.

The church of St Peter at Bexhill is located inland, away from the seaside development that later in the nineteenth century transformed the village into a coastal resort. The church’s distinctive feature, the squat battlemented west tower, built in the eleventh century, is barely visible from the low viewpoint adopted by Moore, and it was presumably for this reason that the antiquarian returned to the subject on his later Sussex trip (TG0326). Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak argued that Girtin actually accompanied Moore on his 1795 tour of the ‘Cinque Ports region’ (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.28), but that now seems very unlikely, and all of his views of the county were probably made after his patron’s sketches.

1793 - 1794

St Peter’s Church, Bexhill, from the East


(?) 1795

St Peter’s Church, Bexhill: The West Tower


1793 - 1794

St Peter’s Church, Bexhill, from the South East


(?) 1795

St Peter’s Church, Bexhill: The West Tower


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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