For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Thomas Girtin

The Mouth of the River Exe

1797 - 1798


Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Mouth of the River Exe
1797 - 1798
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
26.7 × 36.8 cm, 10 ½ × 14 ½ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Coasts and Shipping; The West Country: Devon and Dorset

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Girtin and Loshak, 1954


Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74); then by descent to George Wyndham Hog Girtin (1836–1912) (lent to London, 1875; London, 1877); by a settlement to his sister, Mary Hog Barnard (née Girtin) (1828–99); her sale, Christie’s, 31 May 1886, lot 47; 'Permain'

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.118; London, 1877, no.319


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208

About this Work

This watercolour has not been seen since it was sold at auction in 1886 with the title The Mouth of the Exe, and no image is known of it. The title suggests that the work may have been related to the celebrated image A Rainbow over the River Exe (TG1729 and TG1730). The two authentic versions of the composition are dated 1800, meaning that Girtin waited three years to realise studio watercolours of a subject that he must have gathered on his 1797 West Country tour. It is just possible, therefore, that this lost work is the on-the-spot sketch from which Girtin worked, and the fact that it appears to have descended through the family line until 1886 means that, as a working drawing, it remained in his studio at his death. Conversely, at a rather four-square 26.7 × 36.8 cm (10 ½ × 14 ½ in), it could be a variant on the estuary scene.


A Rainbow over the River Exe



A Rainbow over the River Exe


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.