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Works Thomas Girtin after James Moore

The Great Gate, St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0140: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after James Moore (1762–99), The Great Gate, St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, 1792–93, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 15.9 × 21 cm, 6 ¼ × 8 ¼ in. Philadelphia Museum of Art, purchased with funds contributed by Boies Penrose, 1930 (1930-39-6).

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with funds contributed by Boies Penrose, 1930 (Public Domain)

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99), The Great Gate, St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, graphite on paper, 16.4 × 22.5 cm, 6 ½ × 8 ⅞ in. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (WA1916.20.37).

Photo courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • The Great Gate, St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
15.9 × 21 cm, 6 ¼ × 8 ¼ in
Object Type
Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Dover and Kent; Gothic Architecture: Town and Domestic Fortifications

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
93 as 'St. Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury'; '1795'
Description Source(s)
Sale Catalogue; Colour Photograph


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 Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), 1912; bought from him by Thos. Agnew & Sons (stock no.7986), 10 April 1913; bought by R. W. Howes, 25 September 1919, £20; Cotswold Gallery, London, 1923–29; bought by the Museum, 1930, £17 17s

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1919, no.141; Cotswold Gallery, 1923b, no.4; Cotswold Gallery, 1924, no.1; Cotswold Gallery, 1924a, no.220, £12 12s; Cotswold Gallery, 1926, no.21; Cotswold Gallery, 1926a, no.26, £18 18s; Cotswold Gallery, 1929b, no.28, £17 17s


Philadelphia Museum of Art Online as 'Late 18th century. Formerly attributed to Thomas Girtin' (Accessed 4/12/2023)

About this Work

Saint Augustine's Gate, Canterbury

This view of the gateway to St Augustine’s Abbey at Canterbury, looking west, was made after a drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see the source image above). Girtin’s earliest patron visited the town in 1790 and sketched the intact gateway with its adjoining buildings. The gateway was built between 1297 and 1309, but by 1790 it was in use as a brewery, owned by a striking example of nominative determinism, a Mr Beer. Moore stationed himself at a point to the south east, where it was not possible to see the great tower of the cathedral in the distance, in contrast to Girtin’s contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), whose view from close by features the city’s crowning glory (Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.4.1962)).

Moore’s original drawing was executed on the back of a sketch of one of the Alard monuments in St Thomas’, Winchelsea (TG0352), which has always assumed to have been executed on a tour of Sussex that the antiquarian made in 1795. However, Girtin’s watercolour is typical of the seventy or so other scenes that the young artist developed from his patron’s rather mundane sketches around 1792–93, and there is no reason not to think that both of Moore’s drawings were actually made in 1790. 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 (Moore, Payments, 1792–93).1 The majority of the drawings remained in the ownership of Moore’s descendants until the collection was broken up after 1912, when the artist’s great-grandson, Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), briefly acquired this work.

(?) 1796

One of the Alard Monuments in the Church of St Thomas, Winchelsea


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).

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