For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Thomas Girtin after (?) Edward Dayes

The Bridge at Appleby

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG0299: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763–1804), The Bridge at Appleby, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on paper, 7.6 × 11.7 cm, 3 × 4 ⅝ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • The Bridge at Appleby
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
7.6 × 11.7 cm, 3 × 4 ⅝ in
Object Type
Colour Sketch: Studio Work
Subject Terms
The Lake District

The Bridge at Appleby (TG0267)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2006


Robert Nesham (1846–1928); his posthumous sale, Christie’s, 23 July 1928, lot 37 as one of four by Joseph Mallord William Turner; bought by 'Ellis and Smith', £27 6s; A. N. Gilbey; his sale, Christie’s, 26 April 1940, lot 203 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner; bought by 'Spink', £23 2s; Revd. P. A. Britton; his sale, Christie’s, 6 March 1973, lot 77 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner; bought by Spink & Son Ltd, London, 420 gns the pair; Douglas D. Everett; Christie’s, 16 November 2006, lot 60ii as by Thomas Girtin

About this Work

This view of Appleby in Westmorland, with the bridge over the river Eden prominent, is likely to have been amongst the sixty ‘Coloured Drawings on Cards’ sold from the collection of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 7 May 1808, lots 60 and 61; Christie’s, 26 June 1833, lots 80–83). A group of the cards was bought by Girtin’s collaborator at Monro’s home, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), and they now form part of the Turner Bequest at Tate Britain. This watercolour was attributed to Turner until its sale at auction in 2006, but, as with the majority of the ‘Coloured Drawings’ in the Turner Bequest, it is clearly the work of Girtin. The watercolours, all painted on card measuring roughly 3 × 4 ¾ in (7.6 × 12.1 cm), were executed around 1795–96 after a set of outline drawings that Girtin copied mainly from the sketches of his first significant patron, the amateur artist James Moore (1762–99). However, Girtin’s patron passed through the north west on his return from Scotland in 1792 without producing sketches of the main sites; therefore, when it came to selecting views in the region, including the Lake District, Girtin turned to compositions by his master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804).

Appleby, Westmorland

In this case, two watercolour versions of the composition by Dayes have been traced, including a rather larger sheet (see TG0267 figure 1), which appears to have been the ultimate source for an engraving that was described, possibly erroneously, as ‘from an Original Drawing by T. Girtin’ (see print after TG0267). The composition of the Monro card is closer to a second version that is inscribed on the back ‘Appleby Westmoreland – sketched 1789’ (see figure 1), though this may mean that the watercolour was based on an earlier sketch rather than actually being coloured on the spot at that date. With the exception of the omission of the overarching tree to the left, this does indeed seem to be Girtin’s model, down to the carthorse drinking in the river and the distant view of the castle showing through the trees. That said, it is unlikely that Girtin copied Dayes’ composition during his time as his apprentice, which probably ended around 1792–93. The more likely scenario is that as with so many of the coloured cards, its production was preceded by a larger outline drawing, now untraced, and that this was probably made at Monro’s home at the Adelphi in London around 1794–95. Monro’s collection is known to have contained several hundred topographical ‘sketches’ by Dayes, too numerous to specify by subject in the catalogue of his posthumous sale (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 2 July 1833, lots 36–40), and it was probably from a humble outline that Girtin began the process that resulted in this informal view of Appleby, which would have added a different element to his holdings of his work.

It is also possible that Monro had a publication in mind when he commissioned Girtin to produce small-scale watercolours such as this, but their rapid, even careless execution and sketch-like appearance, suggesting that the work was made on the spot, indicate a fundamentally different kind of commodity. Indeed, the subjects that were chosen for this informal sketch-like treatment do not follow any obvious pattern, either by geography or building type, that might have made for a thematically unified publication. And it may be that there is nothing that unites the group other than that Girtin’s outlines after the sketches of Moore, Dayes and others provided a ready resource from which sketch-like watercolours might be rapidly produced.

1795 - 1796

The Bridge at Appleby


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.