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Works Unknown Artist

The Head of Ullswater, from Goborrow Park

1800 - 1805

Primary Image: TG0206: Unknown Artist, The Head of Ullswater, from Goborrow Park, 1800–1805, watercolour on laid paper, 21 × 33.5 cm, 8 ¼ × 13 ¼ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive, PA-F03340-0099 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Unknown Artist
  • The Head of Ullswater, from Goborrow Park
1800 - 1805
Medium and Support
Watercolour on laid paper
21 × 33.5 cm, 8 ¼ × 13 ¼ in
Object Type
Formerly attributed to Thomas Girtin
Subject Terms
Lake Scenery; The Lake District

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Lt. William R. Burn, Carrycoats Hall, Northumberland; then by descent; Anderson & Garland, 20 July 2023, lot 1002, £750

About this Work

This view of Ullswater in the Lake District was until recently known only from an old photograph and the attribution to Girtin was consequently left with a question mark. Girtin did not travel to the Lake District, but he did produce a watercolour of Ullswater that was sold at an auction at Greenwood’s in London in 1791 (Exhibitions: Greenwood, 17 November 1791, lot 50), having been consigned to the sale by Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804). It is just possible, therefore, that this work was produced by Girtin as an apprentice from a composition by Dayes and that it belonged with a group of Lake District scenes that he produced around 1791–92, including The View from the Great Boathouse, Lake Windermere (TG0073) and Lake Windermere and Belle Isle (TG0078). However, the procurement of a colour image has confirmed my initial suspicion that the association of the watercolour with Girtin was a case of wishful thinking during an earlier period when any brooding lake view attracted a speculative attribution to the artist, and this was no doubt encouraged by the fact that Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak mistakenly argued that the artist journeyed to the region on two occasions (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, pp.41–42). The watercolour certainly appears to date from about the right time, but although it bears some resemblance to Girtin’s view of Dovedale (TG1751), the formless structure of the similar rock to the left, combined with a poor command of aerial perspective, a random distribution of light, and a perfunctory and formulaic skyscape, all point to the work of an unknown amateur artist, albeit one who knew something about the professional artist’s later style and his use of a rough-textured laid paper.

1791 - 1792

The View from the Great Boathouse, Lake Windermere


1791 - 1792

Lake Windermere and Belle Isle


1800 - 1801



by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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