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Works Thomas Girtin

The Beach at Teignmouth

(?) 1797

Primary Image: TG1457: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The Beach at Teignmouth, (?) 1797, graphite on wove paper (watermark: J WHATMAN), 16.4 × 27 cm, 6 ½ × 10 ½ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Guy Peppiatt Fine Art Ltd. (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Beach at Teignmouth
(?) 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper (watermark: J WHATMAN)
16.4 × 27 cm, 6 ½ × 10 ½ in

'Teignmouth' on an old border

Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Coasts and Shipping; The West Country: Devon and Dorset

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
203 as 'Teignmouth'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2015


Henry Peter Standly (1782–1844); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 16 April 1845, lot 397 as 'a sketch in pencil, of Teignmouth'; bought by 'Palser', 8s; J. Palser & Sons; Dr John Percy (1817–89); his posthumous sale, possibly Christie’s, 17 April 1890, lot 505 (one of 9); bought by 'Dowdeswell', £2 2s; John Postle Heseltine (1843–1929); his posthumous sale, Sotheby’s, 29 May 1935, lot 313; volume bought by Bernard Squire, £32; bought by Thomas Girtin (1913–94); Sotheby’s, 14 November 1991, lot 109, unsold; his posthumous sale, Sotheby’s, 14 July 1994, lot 107, unsold; Guy Peppiatt Fine Art, 2015; Ewbanks, 25 March 2021, lot 1256, £700

Exhibition History

Guy Peppiatt, London, 2015, no.16

About this Work

After a stay at Exeter in early November 1797, where Girtin studied views on the river Exe and sketched the city’s medieval monuments, the artist travelled west along the Devon coast, stopping at Teignmouth, twenty kilometres to the south. The old port stands on the north bank of the river Teign, but the focus of Girtin’s view is the town’s growing status as a resort, as we look north along the Promenade with a group of bathing machines on the beach to the right, though the old church of St Michael (which was rebuilt in the nineteenth century) is also visible amongst a group of houses to the left. The drawing was executed at some speed, and one can well imagine that it was taken during a brief break in the journey from Exeter. However, a little later Girtin appears to have gone back to his sketch and worked over it with a sharper piece of graphite to fix the details, and it was possibly at this point that he added a series of notes – ‘w’ for white, ‘b’ for brick and ‘H’ for hut – and it seems that he had a finished watercolour in mind from an early point. Indeed, a small watercolour measuring 10.5 × 14.6 cm (4 ⅛ × 5 ¾ in) was recorded by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak as being for sale at Leggatt Brothers in 1916, though it was not photographed and there is no way of knowing whether it was based on this drawing (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.210). However, it is unlikely that the artist produced more than one drawing of Teignmouth, not least because it also seems to have provided the viewpoint from which he sketched the neighbouring coastal village of Shaldon, an outline that was realised as a more substantial studio work (TG1263).

1797 - 1798

Shaldon, Seen from Teignmouth


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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