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 James Moore

The East End of Tynemouth Priory Church

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0096: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after James Moore (1762-99), The East End of Tynemouth Priory Church, 1792–93, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 14.6 × 10.4 cm, 5 ¾ × 4 ⅛ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Bonhams (All Rights Reserved)

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99), The East End of Tynemouth Priory, 17 August 1792, graphite on wove paper, 18.1 × 22.9 cm, 7 ⅛ × 9 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.695).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • The East End of Tynemouth Priory Church
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
14.6 × 10.4 cm, 5 ¾ × 4 ⅛ in

'Tynemouth / Monastery’ on the back

Object Type
Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Durham and Northumberland; Monastic Ruins

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
28 as 'Tynemouth Priory'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


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 an unknown purchaser, 1915, £10 10s; ... Spink & Son Ltd, London; Eric H. L. Sexton; a private New England Trust; Christie’s, 7 June 2001, lot *80 as 'Tynemouth Priory, Northumberland', £9,400; Bonhams, 29 July 2020, lot 241, £7,562

About this Work

This watercolour by Girtin of the ruined east end of the priory church of Tynemouth, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was made after a drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see source image above), and the artist did not visit the site himself until 1796. Girtin’s earliest patron travelled through Northumberland on the way to Scotland in the late summer of 1792 and his sketch of the ruined church is inscribed ‘East End of Tinmouth Priory 17th Augt’. Girtin is documented as having worked for Moore between October 1792 and February 1793 for a fee of six shillings a day, producing watercolours on paper generally measuring roughly 6 ½ × 8 ½ in (16.5 × 21.5 cm), as here, and it seems likely that he began with the subjects that Moore brought back from his most recent tour (Moore, Payments, 1792–93).1 In all Girtin painted seventy or so small watercolours after Moore’s sketches, including about thirty compositions derived from drawings made on the trip to Scotland. Moore employed other artists, including Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), to work up his sketches for reproduction, but it seems that the seventeen-year-old artist, who may still have been an apprentice at this date, was tasked with simply producing the best watercolours he could from the little more than functional records produced by the antiquarian. Moore’s collection of watercolours by Girtin, which eventually numbered over a hundred, remained in the ownership of his descendants until it was broken up after 1912, when this work was acquired by a great-grandson of the artist, Thomas Girtin (1874–1960).

In general Girtin made few changes to Moore’s compositions, limiting himself to adding a suitable weather effect and a figure or two. In this case, however, Girtin cut the composition to the right and left, converting the landscape format into an upright view, which has the effect of bringing the ruined fragment closer to the spectator so that it assumes a greater monumentality, though the removal of the landscape setting also means that there is nothing to suggest that the ruin occupies a spectacular coastal site. Cutting off extraneous parts of the ruin, including the stone rood screen to the right, also means that attention is concentrated on the magnificent east end of the church, which dates from around 1190, and Girtin carefully follows Moore’s sketch and partly hides the incongruous extension of the church in the form of the fifteenth-century Percy Chantry. The artist produced a second view of Tynemouth for Moore (TG0083), this time taken from the interior and in a more characteristic landscape format. That work at least includes a reference to the ruin’s setting in the form of a ship to the right.

1792 - 1793

An Interior View of the Ruined East End of Tynemouth Priory Church


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The document detailing the payments made to the young Girtin by Moore is transcribed in full in the Documents section of the Archive (1792–93 – Item 1).

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.