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Works Thomas Girtin

The Edge of a Wood

1800 - 1801

Primary Image: TG1774: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), The Edge of a Wood, 1800–01, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 10.9 × 14.2 cm, 4 ¼ × 5 ⅝ in. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Donald Stone (2022.40.57).

Photo courtesy of National Gallery of Art Washington

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Edge of a Wood
1800 - 1801
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
10.9 × 14.2 cm, 4 ¼ × 5 ⅝ in
Object Type
Colour Sketch: Studio Work
Subject Terms
Trees and Woods; Unidentified Landscape

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Online Catalogue


Sotheby's, 5 November 1952, lot 28; bought by Spink & Son Ltd, London, £14 (stock no.K3/1336); ... Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1992 (stock no. CM2831); Donald Stone (1942–2020); bequeathed to the Gallery, 2022

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1992, no.28

About this Work

This is one of two slight colour sketches of woodland scenes on paper of similar dimensions that appear to date from towards the end of Girtin’s life (the other being TG1773). Although the works might be linked together as a pair on stylistic and thematic grounds, the likelihood is that they simply came from the same source, one of the ‘4 little Books partly of sketches and partly blank paper’ that John Girtin (1773–1821) discovered in his brother’s studio after his death (Chancery, Income and Expenses, 1804). It seems that John, who must at one point have owned several hundred of the artist’s sketches, including many that he appropriated to recoup the substantial sums of money he had lent his brother, was responsible for splitting up the ‘little Books’ for sale (Smith, 2017–18, pp.35–36). It is unlikely that drawings such as this were sketched from nature, however, having been produced instead to meet the demand from collectors for examples of the more informal side of Girtin’s output. Thus, even though one of the sketches is known only from a black and white photograph, it is clear that the dispatch with which they were produced was not a result of the artist seeking to record a transient natural effect; rather it was about creating attractive small-scale commodities from which a sympathetic collector, probably an amateur artist themselves, might follow the stages of their production.

1800 - 1801

A Woodland Scene with a Hind


by Greg Smith

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