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Works Thomas Girtin and Samuel Howitt

Stags Fighting amongst a Herd of Deer in Windsor Great Park, with the Castle in the Distance

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG1373: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Samuel Howitt (1756-1822), Stags Fighting amongst a Herd of Deer in Windsor Great Park, with the Castle in the Distance, 1795–96, watercolour and pen and ink on paper, 22.9 × 30.2 cm, 9 × 11 ⅞ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Samuel Howitt (1756-1822)
  • Stags Fighting amongst a Herd of Deer in Windsor Great Park, with the Castle in the Distance
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Watercolour and pen and ink on paper
22.9 × 30.2 cm, 9 × 11 ⅞ in

‘Howitt’ lower right; ‘Howitt / Girtin’ lower left

Object Type
Collaborations; Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Animal Study; The Landscape Park; Windsor and Environs

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


John Bannister (1760–1836); his posthumous sale, Foster's, 28 March 1849, lot 53 as 'A pair of Views in Windsor Great Park with deer' by Samuel Howitt and Thomas Girtin, £4 14s 6d; ... Christie’s, 9 July 1985, lot 91, £1,836

About this Work

This unusual collaboration between Girtin and the animal painter Samuel Howitt (1756–1822), his older contemporary, is one of a pair of views that shows herds of deer in Windsor Great Park and Richmond Park (the other being TG1374). The watercolours, which are signed by both artists, are marked by a strict division of labour, with Girtin producing the landscape and Howitt painting the animals. Both works are only known through black and white photographs, and it is therefore not possible to say how the two artists worked – that is, whether Girtin began by producing a landscape leaving gaps for Howitt to add in the animals or whether, instead, Howitt initiated the process, with Girtin improvising the landscape around the forms of the deer. The latter option seems the more likely as, although the castle in the distance here is recognisably that of Windsor, there is nothing in the landscape to suggest that the work was based on an on-the-spot sketch – and, indeed, Girtin’s contribution would seem to predate, on stylistic grounds, the artist’s possible visit to the site around 1797–98. The likeliest scenario, therefore, is that the young Girtin was employed around 1795–96 by Howitt to add a landscape to a study of stags fighting, and that he included a view of Windsor from a secondary source, together with a generalised piece of forestry scenery. Howitt’s deer may have been the result of the diligent work of a specialist animal painter, but there is no evidence that they were the direct result of studies made on the spot either, and the scene as a whole is no more than a confection based on the association of Windsor Great Park with the ancient royal hunting grounds.

1795 - 1796

A Herd of Deer in Richmond Park


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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