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Works Thomas Girtin after (?) James Moore

The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle, with Leicester's Gatehouse in the Distance

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0153: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle, with Leicester's Gatehouse in the Distance, 1792–93, graphite on wove paper, 17.4 × 22.5 cm, 6 ⅞ × 8 ¾ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.596).

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

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle, with Leicester's Gatehouse in the Distance
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
17.4 × 22.5 cm, 6 ⅞ × 8 ¾ in

'Girtin' on the back, by (?) James Moore

Object Type
Outline Drawing; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; The Midlands

Catalogue Number
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); ... William Lamson Warren, Hertford, Connecticut; bought by Paul Mellon (1907–99), c.1950; presented to the Center, 1975


YCBA Online as 'Unidentified Castle' (Accessed 13/09/2022)

About this Work

George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824), after James Moore (1762–99), aquatint, 'Kenilworth Castle' for <i>Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales</i>, p.95, 1 January 1792, 8 × 10.9 cm, 3 ⅛ × 4 ¼ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

This sketch by Girtin of the keep of Kenilworth Castle was made after an untraced drawing by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99). Girtin’s earliest patron visited the castle in the autumn of 1789 on his return from a tour of Yorkshire and his sketch of this view was reproduced as an aquatint in his Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales (see figure 1), where it was noted as having been taken on 8 October 1789 (Moore, 1792). This sheet was discovered in one of two volumes of drawings from the collection of Moore that are in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. The drawings are in the main by Moore himself, made on his numerous tours to gather material for his antiquarian publications, but they also include five sketches by Girtin as well as over forty of the outlines by Moore from which Girtin made finished watercolours for his patron. This sketch was attributed by the Yale Center to Moore himself, but it is inscribed ‘Girtin’ on the back and the quality of the draughtsmanship is of a completely different standard to the bulk of the material in the volumes; there is therefore no doubt that it is by the young professional artist. Girtin is documented as having travelled with Moore in the summer of 1794 to the Midland counties and it is possible that Kenilworth was on a route that certainly included Lichfield, Peterborough and Lincoln, with Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon other possible destinations (Howlett, 1805). However, the fact that his drawing reproduces the same composition shown by George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824) means that it must predate the 1794 tour. This and the other Girtin drawings in the Moore volumes are the same size as the seventy or so watercolours that the artist made after the sketches of his patron and this suggests not only that they were made during the same period (1792–93) but also that they formed part of the same process. The production of a detailed pencil copy was perhaps just the first stage in the creation of a finished watercolour, with the artist continuing the process of adding washes to the outline as seen in TG0128. Equally, it is possible that Girtin was in the habit of producing a pencil copy of his source material, both as a model for the watercolours commissioned by his patron as well as for any subsequent versions that might be ordered.

The text of Moore’s Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles notes that the view shown in Girtin’s drawing was taken from the south west, showing ‘a part erected by the Earl of Leicester, another called Caesar’s tower, and the noble gateway built by the above nobleman, now a convenient farm-house’ (Moore, 1792, p.96). The heavily ivied building in the foreground is therefore part of Leicester’s Building. Caesar’s Tower was the name used in the eighteenth century for the keep, and beyond is the gatehouse built by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532–88), to welcome Elizabeth I in 1575.

1792 - 1793

The Great Keep, Kenilworth Castle


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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