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Works James Moore and Thomas Girtin

The Landgate, Rye

(?) 1795

Primary Image: TG0223a: James Moore (1762–99) and Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The Landgate, Rye, (?) 1795, graphite on wove paper, 22.2 × 16.6 cm, 8 ¾ × 6 ½ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1916.20.32).

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

James Moore (1762-1799) and Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Landgate, Rye
(?) 1795
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
22.2 × 16.6 cm, 8 ¾ × 6 ½ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Town and Domestic Fortifications; Sussex View

The Landgate, Rye (TG0223a)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2018


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 and presented anonymously to the Museum, 1916


Brown, 1982, p.472, no.1420 as 'The Land Gate, Rye' by James Moore

About this Work

This pencil drawing showing the Landgate at Rye in Sussex was made by Girtin’s first significant patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99). It is contained in an album assembled from fifty-three drawings that were acquired by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, from Moore’s descendants after 1912. They were catalogued by David Brown as being by Moore himself, but Brown added a note to a sketch of St Clement’s Church, Hastings (TG0308), suggesting that Girtin may also have ‘taken a hand’ in the drawing (Brown, 1982, p.471). I think it is possible to go a step further and propose that, given up to half of the drawings in the album are significantly stronger than Moore’s generally unconvincing sketches, such as Interior of the Albion Mills after the Fire (see source image TG0114), the professional artist had a ‘hand’ in many more of his patron’s outlines. The contrast in quality between the sketch of the Albion Mills and this drawing is so great, particularly in the architectural details, that it is clear that The Landgate, Rye has been corrected and enhanced by a superior artist using a sharper and more richly toned piece of graphite. The drawing is typical of the way in which Moore’s tentative outlines have been firmed up, his faulty perspective corrected and an exuberant level of decorative detail added. The manner in which the artist varies the pressure applied to the graphite to introduce subtle variations in tone, even within the same line, is characteristic of Girtin’s fine draughtsmanship, and it was surely he who elaborated Moore’s on-the-spot drawing prior to producing his own watercolour of the composition (TG0223). The date that Girtin did this is not altogether clear, however. Moore toured Sussex in 1790, 1793 and finally 1795, and drawings from all three tours were copied by Girtin at one time or other. Generally, though, it was the sketches from Moore’s last trip that were worked over by Girtin, and so this work was in all probability made on that occasion. This almost certainly took place back in London as there is no evidence to support the theory, once held by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak and others, that the young artist accompanied Moore to Sussex on the last of his tours, to the ‘Cinque Ports region’ (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.28).

Rye is a hill town and earlier in its history it also had the added advantage of being surrounded by water on three sides. Nonetheless, the town suffered during the Hundred Years’ War with France. The Landgate was built as part of a defensive circuit of walls and towers that included the Ypres Tower, which was also the subject of drawings by Moore and two watercolours by Girtin (TG0336 and TG0342).

(?) 1795

The West Tower, St Clement’s Church, Hastings; Studies of a Horse in Harness and Numerous Architectural Details


1792 - 1793

The Albion Mills, Southwark, after the Fire


(?) 1795

The Landgate, Rye


1795 - 1796

The Ypres Tower, Rye


1795 - 1796

The Ypres Tower, Rye


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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