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Works Thomas Girtin

The Hull of a Ship under Repair, with a Barge and Smaller Boats

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG0831: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The Hull of a Ship under Repair, with a Barge and Smaller Boats, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on laid paper (card), 13.6 × 19.5 cm, 5 ⅜ × 7 ⅝ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXIX 2 (D36626).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Hull of a Ship under Repair, with a Barge and Smaller Boats
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper (card)
13.6 × 19.5 cm, 5 ⅜ × 7 ⅝ in
Object Type
Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Coasts and Shipping

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in January 2018


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 26–28 June and 1–2 July 1833 (day and lot number not known); bought by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851); accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856

Exhibition History

First Loan Exhibition, 1869–1930, no.64; London, 2001, no number


Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1242 as 'Ship's hull and boats' by Thomas Girtin; Warrell, 1991, p.41; Tate Online as 'The Hull of a Ship with a Barge and Smaller Boats' by Thomas Girtin (Accessed 12/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of a ship under repair, its masts broken and hoists in place, is part of the Turner Bequest consequent to its purchase at the posthumous sale of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), where Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) acquired several hundred of the works he had produced in collaboration with Girtin. Alexander Finberg, the cataloguer of the bequest, thought that it was the work of Girtin alone, however, and Tate Britain also rightly attributes the watercolour solely to the artist (Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1242; D36626). The subject of the view may have much in common with a typical Turner–Girtin collaboration such as The Inner Harbour, Dover (TG0817), which was probably made after an outline by Monro’s neighbour, John Henderson (1764–1843), but it lacks the distinctive, almost decorative pencil work that characterises the artists’ collaborations and it has more in common with the sketches that Girtin began to colour on the spot from about 1796 onwards. However, although that might account for the poor perspective and the unfinished quality of the work, it must also be admitted that I have struggled to find another example of an on-the-spot colour sketch in which the pencil work, albeit utilitarian in character in this case, plays such a fundamental role and where the figures are carefully inserted into the composition, and I wonder whether this is not a copy after all. In particular, I am reminded of the view of Weymouth (TG0911) with its prominent shipping, which Girtin appears to have painted after Henderson’s sketches and which therefore predates his own trip to the West Country, and there is some evidence to link views of the port to Monro’s collection. Thus, a manuscript ‘catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the possession of Dr Monro’, made in 1832, notes ‘Tracings after Henderson’s Weymouth’ as being in the collection, and, whilst I previously assumed this related to the finished studio watercolour, the use of the plural might indicate a connection with this work too (Girtin Archive, 36).

1795 - 1796

The Inner Harbour, Dover, with the Castle Beyond


1796 - 1797

The Harbour at Weymouth


by Greg Smith

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