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Works Thomas Girtin

The River Nidd between Knaresborough and Wetherby


Primary Image: TG1629: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The River Nidd between Knaresborough and Wetherby, 1800, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 20.3 × 33 cm, 8 × 13 in. Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI, anonymous gift (71.153.49).

Photo courtesy of Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Anonymous gift (71.153.49) (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The River Nidd between Knaresborough and Wetherby
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
20.3 × 33 cm, 8 × 13 in

‘Girtin 1800’ lower centre, by Thomas Girtin (the signature has been cut, suggesting that it once extended onto an original mount which has been lost); ‘Coloured on the spot / Between Knaresbro and Weatherby. / Thos Girtin 1800.’ on the back, by (?) Thomas Girtin

Object Type
On-the-spot Colour Sketch
Subject Terms
River Scenery; Yorkshire View

The River Nidd, between Knaresborough and Wetherby (TG1670)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Museum Website


Thomas Calvert Girtin (1801–74); then by descent to George Wyndham Hog Girtin (1835–1911) (lent to London, 1875); by a settlement to his sister, Mary Hog Barnard (née Girtin) (1828–99); her sale, Christie’s, 31 May 1886, lot 54 as 'Crummock Water'; bought by 'G. Murray', £8 8s; ... Christopher Lewis Loyd (1923-2013); bought from him by Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1966 (stock no.3401); bought from them by an anonymous collector, 1967, £400; presented to the Museum, 1971

Exhibition History

London, 1875, no.75 as ’Crummock Water, Cumberland’; Rhode Island, 1972, no.45


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208 as 'Untraced ... Crummock Water, Cumberland'; Museum Website as 'Between Knaresborough and Weatherby' (Accessed 18/09/2022)

About this Work

This view on the river Nidd was known to Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak only from an exhibition catalogue that lacked illustrations and that wrongly titled it ‘Crummock Water, Cumberland’ (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.208). The correct location of the scene is noted on the back of the drawing, which reads ‘Coloured on the spot / Between Knaresbro and Weatherby. / Thos Girtin 1800.’ I have not yet been able to verify whether this is in Girtin’s hand, or even if it is contemporary with the drawing itself. This is particularly frustrating since, if the inscription does prove to be authentic, this would be of significant documentary value, helping to date a number of other sketches the artist made along the course of the river Nidd (such as TG1604 and TG1611). This, in turn, would increase our understanding of Girtin’s activities in the summer of 1800, when he is known to have stayed with his patron Edward Lascelles (1764–1814) at nearby Harewood House. The visual evidence that the drawing was executed on the spot is also unfortunately compromised, this time by its poor, faded condition, though it is unlikely to have been brightly coloured originally. A strip to the left, which was once protected from the damaging effect of high light levels by a later mount, illustrates this, as well as suggesting that the drawing did not originally include a skyscape, something that might mean it was sketched in haste on the spot. The restricted palette employed by Girtin may also have resembled that of another large-scale on-the-spot sketch that the artist made at a nearby location, also probably in 1800, Plumpton Rocks, near Knaresborough (TG1552). Therefore, although there are passages in the trees and in the water that seem too composed and carefully finished to be consistent with Girtin’s general practice when sketching in the field, there is still a possibility that this is a very rare example of a signed and dated on-the-spot colour sketch. Confirmation of this will partly depend on establishing the status of another version of this composition which, though not dated, is signed and inscribed ‘Between Knaresborough and Wetherby’ (TG1670). I suspect that the inscription on that watercolour provided the correct title for this drawing and that the writing on the back, which identifies this sheet as a work ‘Coloured on the spot’, will prove on further study to have been added much later, though of course that does not necessarily mean that this work was executed in the studio.

(?) 1800

Grimbald Bridge, near Knaresborough


(?) 1800

A Crag on the River Nidd


(?) 1800

Plumpton Rocks, near Knaresborough


(?) 1800

The River Nidd, between Knaresborough and Wetherby


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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