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Works Thomas Girtin

The Market Square at Aylesbury

1797 - 1798


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Market Square at Aylesbury
1797 - 1798
Medium and Support
Graphite on paper
15.2 × 24.1 cm, 6 × 9 ½ in
Object Type
Outline Drawing; Replica by Girtin
Subject Terms
Buckinghamshire View; Picturesque Vernacular; The Country Town

The Market Square at Aylesbury (TG0369a)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
397i as '"At Aylesbury"'; '1800'
Description Source(s)
Girtin and Loshak, 1954


Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74); then by descent to Thomas Girtin (1874–1960); his sale, Sotheby’s, 11 June 1952, lot 8 as 'Aylesbury; a sketch', unsold

About this Work

This drawing has not been seen in public since it appeared at an auction in 1952 and it does not seem to have been photographed. It was known to Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak, however, and they dated it to 1800, suggesting that the sketch was repeated by the artist for Girtin’s early patron Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) (TG0369a) (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.189). That drawing, now part of the Turner Bequest, is on a piece of paper of the same size and is inscribed ‘At Aylesbury’, thus providing the title for this work. This is particularly important, because there do not seem to be any other views of the Buckinghamshire market town of Aylesbury from this date, and we are therefore dependent on the inscription for the identification of the subject in both drawings. More significant still is the strong possibility that the two sketches of Aylesbury are another case of the artist making a replica of one of his on-the-spot pencil drawings, just as with the four examples in the Whitworth Book of Drawings (TG1601, TG1604, TG1611 and TG1620). The original drawings in that case, some dating from a couple of years earlier, are also all smaller, but, because the Aylesbury views are undated and are the same size, it is not possible to say which was the first to be executed. A word of caution, however, for the fact that this drawing came from the collection of Girtin’s son, Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74), is not a guarantee of its authenticity, either as the original or as the copy. Girtin’s son acquired many of his drawings on the open market, rather than by direct inheritance, and it may be significant that this example was unsold at the auction of items from the collection of the artist’s great-grandson, Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), suggesting that there may have been doubts about its attribution. I am also not sure about the date Girtin and Loshak give for the Aylesbury views. The version in the Turner Bequest has much in common with two other drawings from the same source – Caernarfon: A Street Scene with Plas Mawr (The Great House) (TG1313) and Pont y Pair, Betws-y-Coed (TG1331) – and if it was made for Monro, then a date of around 1798 would make more sense as there is no evidence that Girtin had any connection with the patron after then.

1798 - 1799

The Market Square at Aylesbury


(?) 1801

Chelsea Reach, Looking towards Battersea


(?) 1800

Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough


(?) 1800

A Crag on the River Nidd


(?) 1801

Middleham Village, with the Castle Beyond


(?) 1798

Caernarfon: A Street Scene with Plas Mawr (The Great House)


(?) 1798

Pont y Pair, Betws-y-Coed


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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