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Works Thomas Girtin after James Moore

The Landgate, Rye

(?) 1795

Primary Image: TG0223: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after James Moore (1762–99), The Landgate, Rye, (?) 1795, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original mount, 22.4 × 17 cm, 8 ⅞ × 6 ¾ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.1161).

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

Print after: John Walker (active 1776–1802), 'after a Sketch by Jas. Moore, Esqr. F.A.S.' (James Moore (1762–99)), etching and engraving, 'Rye' for The Copper-Plate Magazine, vol.3, no.74, pl.147, 1 March 1798, 15 × 20 cm, 5 ⅞ × 7 ⅞ in. British Museum, London (1862,0712.929).

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • The Landgate, Rye
(?) 1795
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an original mount
22.4 × 17 cm, 8 ⅞ × 6 ¾ in
Mount Dimensions
25.4 × 20.6 cm, 10 × 8 ⅛ in

‘Land Gate, Rye, Sussex’ on the back, by James Moore

Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Gothic Architecture: Town and Domestic Fortifications; Sussex View

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak 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); bought by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), 1912, £8; given to Tom Girtin (1913–94), c.1938; bought by John Baskett on behalf of Paul Mellon (1907–99), 1970; presented to the Center, 1975

Exhibition History

New Haven, 1986a, no.37

About this Work

This monochrome drawing by Girtin showing the Landgate at Rye in Sussex was made after a sketch by his first significant patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99) (TG0223a), and Girtin himself did not visit the site. Moore’s drawing of the view from inside the town is one of a dozen or so examples where Girtin elaborated and corrected his patron’s tentative and often inept sketches before going on to produce a more complete drawing of the subject himself. The watercolours are the same size as the sketches and it may be that the process of reinforcing the lines of the latter helped to make it easier to trace the composition onto another piece of paper prior to adding colour. In this case, however, Girtin applied only a few washes of monochrome to the outline drawing and, initially at least, it appears to have been abandoned incomplete. It is possible that Girtin might have carried on and added further colour to the drawing and that the grey washes were simply the underdrawing for a highly worked watercolour, but there are enough similar examples of Girtin using simple monochrome washes over prominent pencil work in the subjects he executed for Moore, such as The Ruined Gatehouse, Pevensey Castle (TG0266), to suggest that the sheet was not simply abandoned. Moreover, the existence of an engraving of the composition by John Walker (active 1776–1802) for an edition of his Copper-Plate Magazine published in 1798 (see the print after, above) suggests a possible function for Girtin’s drawing, despite the fact that the print is inscribed as having been made ‘after a Sketch by Jas. Moore’ (Walker, 1792–1802, vol.3). Thus, although it is possible that Walker used Moore’s drawing and that he added material to the left and right to fit it into a landscape format that matched the rest of the prints in his publication, it is more probable that he actually worked from Girtin’s drawing and that its simple washes were enough to suggest the general distribution of light for the engraver. Moore lent as many as nine of Girtin’s drawings to Walker for engraving, but only four of them are credited to the professional artist and it seems that his role in the production of the image was secondary to the patron in this case too.

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 Landgate, Rye


1793 - 1794

The Ruined Gatehouse, Pevensey Castle, from the East


1795 - 1796

The Ypres Tower, Rye


1795 - 1796

The Ypres Tower, Rye


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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