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Works Thomas Girtin

The South Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from across the Lawn

(?) 1800

Primary Image: TG1563: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The South Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from across the Lawn, (?) 1800, graphite, watercolour and bodycolour on laid paper, 40 × 53.7 cm, 15 ¾ × 21 ⅛ in. Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (1953P226).

Photo courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The South Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from across the Lawn
(?) 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and bodycolour on laid paper
40 × 54 cm, 15 ¾ × 21 ¼ in

‘T. Girtin’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Commissioned from Thomas Girtin; Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Buckinghamshire View; Country House View; The Landscape Park

The South Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from across the Lawn (TG1562)
Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
245ii as 'Chalfont Lodge'; '1797–8'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001 and April 2024


Thomas Hibbert (1744–1819); bequeathed to Robert Hibbert (1750–1835); then by descent to Leicester Hibbert (1826–1909); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 6 December 1909, lot 14 as 'Views of Chalfont Lodge, a pair'; bought by 'Palser', £13 13s; J. Palser & Sons (stock no.16697); bought by Claude Tryon (d.1949), 4 February 1913; ... James Leslie Wright (1862–1954); presented to the Museum, 1953

Exhibition History

London, 1949, no.194; Salisbury, Rhodesia, 1957, no.233; Lyons, 1966, no.57; Prague, 1969, no.70; Manchester, 1975, no.32; Birmingham, 1980, no.33; London, 1992, no.13; London, 2002, no.78


Morris, 2002b, p.63

About this Work

Around 1800, Girtin was commissioned by Thomas Hibbert (1744–1819) to produce two views of his recently remodelled seat of Chalfont House in Buckinghamshire (TG1564 and TG1565), together with another pair showing the newly built lodge on the estate, including this view of the south front (the other being TG1561). The four watercolours, each measuring about 42 × 55 cm (16 ½ × 21 ½ in), were probably framed for display on the walls of Hibbert’s home, and collectively they represent, after Girtin’s work for Edward Lascelles (1764–1814), the artist’s most ambitious and innovative exercise in the tired genre of the country house portrait. 

Chalfont Lodge was situated seven hundred metres north-east of the main house, and it was designed by John Nash (1752–1835) as a picturesque eye-catcher. Although the lodge resembles a simple picturesque cottage, with the addition of a vaguely Gothic entrance porch, it was in fact built for the use of Hibbert’s brother and eventual heir, Robert Hibbert (1750–1835), and it was carefully set in its own grounds, which included an ornamental lake and kitchen gardens. The artful simplicity of a small domestic building that appropriated the cottage aesthetic could both act as a picturesque element within the landscape park and provide accommodation for a gentleman who could appreciate the ethical appeal of the simple country life and its associations with peaceful retirement. It was, however, a life that did not preclude the generous provision of servants, who feed the chickens and bring in milk and foodstuff; a gardener, who rolls the lawn; and a husbandman, who keeps the farm animals away from the kitchen garden, all of which Girtin carefully adds to the view. 

This view of Chalfont Lodge, like its pair that shows the north front (TG1561), has remained in remarkably good condition, though the bodycolour used as a highlight around the doors and windows of the porch has become too prominent. Girtin employed a particularly florid version of his signature in the bottom left corner of the watercolour, and he left his mark on the work in another way: a fingerprint in the opposite corner is one of a number to be found on his works. Girtin made a second, smaller version of this composition, possibly for Robert Hibbert himself (TG1562).

(?) 1800

Chalfont House, from the North East, with Fishermen Netting the Broadwater


(?) 1800

Chalfont House, from the North West


(?) 1800

The North Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from the Lake


(?) 1800

The North Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from the Lake


(?) 1800

The South Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from across the Lawn


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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