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Works (?) Thomas Girtin

Studies of a Country Boy

1798 - 1799

Primary Image: TG1500: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Studies of a Country Boy, 1798–99, graphite on paper, 13 × 11.5 cm, 5 ⅛ × 4 ½ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Bonhams (All Rights Reserved)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Studies of a Country Boy
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Graphite on paper
13 × 11.5 cm, 5 ⅛ × 4 ½ in
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Figure Studies

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Maas Gallery, London; bought from them by Leonard Gordon Duke (1890–1971) (D3677), 1960, £28; his sale, Sotheby’s, 29 April 1971, lot 73 as 'Rustic Figure Studies'; bought by Stanhope Shelton, £15; Bonhams, 23 September 2008, lot 36, unsold; Bonhams, 28 April 2009, lot 14

About this Work

The attribution of this sheet of figure studies to Girtin is problematic on a number of grounds, not least because there is only one other study of a rustic figure that is assuredly by the artist. This is found on the back of an on-the-spot sketch of Valle Crucis Abbey in North Wales, and, though it shows a young rustic dressed in a similar costume, the differences from this sketch are altogether more significant (TG1339). Thus, whilst the study, done in graphite, bears all the signs of having been executed at speed from life, this pen and ink drawing, in contrast, is much more carefully posed, with the figure in full face and partial profile, and its placement on the sheet of paper seems too contrived. The fluent pen and ink outline also gives cause for concern; its unvarying strength and a certain decorative quality have nothing in common with Girtin’s other figure drawings. These are few in number and various in their effect, but they are never facile in their treatment, and their rather artless appearance is noticeably at variance with this sheet. Of course, it is possible that Girtin copied the figures from the work of another artist for use in one of his landscapes, and this would perhaps account for the uncharacteristically fluid outline, which is not dissimilar to what is seen in the work of Thomas Rowlandson (1757–1827). However, no obvious source suggests itself, and in any case the pen work is so very different from anything else to be seen from any part of Girtin’s career that I suspect that the drawing is not by him.

(?) 1798

Valle Crucis Abbey, from the River; Studies of Seated Figures


by Greg Smith

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