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Works Thomas Girtin

The Stables, Plompton Park (page 17 of the Whitworth Book of Drawings)

(?) 1800

Primary Image: TG1602: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The Stables, Plompton Park, (?) 1800, graphite on wove paper, 14.6 × 21.7 cm, 5 ¾ × 8 ½ in. The Whitworth, The University of Manchester (D.1977.15.17).

Photo courtesy of The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Photo by Michael Pollard (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Stables, Plompton Park (page 17 of the Whitworth Book of Drawings)
(?) 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
14.6 × 21.7 cm, 5 ¾ × 8 ½ in

‘Plumton’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin; ‘34’ lower left; 'Sketch of Harewood House in Pencil Sold to Mr Hargreaves / £1. 1. 0' on the back, by (?) Thomas Girtin (referring to the image removed from page 16)

Part of
Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
The Landscape Park; Yorkshire View

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
374 as 'The Hall Stables, Plompton Park'; '1800'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001, 2002 and 2022


Sale at Platt Vicarage, Rusholme, Manchester, 1898; sketchbook bought by 'Shepherd'; then by descent to F. W. Shepherd; his sale, Sotheby’s, 7 July 1977, lot 46; bought by Baskett and Day; bought by the Gallery, 1977


Hardie, 1938–39, no.5, p.92 as '"Plumpton." The Stables at the Hall, Plompton Park'

About this Work

This view of the stable block built for Daniel Lascelles (1714–84) by John Carr (1723–1807) at Plompton Hall near Harewood in Yorkshire appears on page seventeen of the Whitworth Book of Drawings (TG1323, TG1324 and TG1600–1625). Like the next page, which features a view of Harewood House, from the south west (TG1603), this drawing was probably made in the summer of 1800, when Girtin stayed at Harewood, gathering material for a major commission from his patron Edward Lascelles (1764–1814). This included two very large watercolours of the house viewed from the park (TG1547 and TG1548), a distant view of Knaresborough (TG1669) and a depiction of the picturesque site of Plumpton Rocks, which is in Plompton Park (TG1553). The main house at Plompton, spelt differently from the beauty spot, was abandoned in 1762 incomplete and later demolished, whilst the stables themselves were converted into a house. By 1800 the residence had reverted back to the possession of the main branch of the family at Harewood, and it was presumably with the hope of another commission from Lascelles that Girtin made this sketch.

The Book of Drawings did not assume its final form until after the artist’s death, when sketches from various sources and different dates were bound together with end papers with an ‘1803’ watermark. This, I suspect, was done at the behest of the artist’s brother John Girtin (1773–1821) who appropriated material from the artist’s studio after his death including ‘4 little Books partly of sketches and partly blank paper’, a combination that accords with the unusual makeup of the book (Chancery, Income and Expenses, 1804).1 Whilst some of Girtin’s sketches appear to have been made on separate sheets that were later bound together, the drawing of the stables at Plompton Park was sketched directly into the book in its earlier form as a makeshift gathering of papers that could be worked on the spot and shown to prospective patrons. This is confirmed by the presence amongst the sequence of Yorkshire scenes at the heart of the ‘book’ of a view of Bolton Abbey (TG1618) that crosses from one sheet to another, meaning that this section, at least, must have been assembled by Girtin prior to working on the sketch. However, it must also be remembered that since one of the Yorkshire views in the Book of Drawings (TG1620) is actually on paper with an ‘1801’ watermark, replicating a dated sketch of 1799 (TG1508), there is no guarantee that this or any of the other drawings is not a copy of a lost on-the-spot sketch.

An inscription on the back of the drawing, which reads ‘Sketch of Harewood House in Pencil Sold to Mr Hargreaves £1.1.0’, presumably refers to page sixteen, which has been removed, leaving just a stub behind. The drawing, which has not been traced, fetched a respectable price and shows just how strong was the interest in even slight examples of Girtin’s on-the-spot sketches amongst collectors who appreciated the more informal side of his artistic practice.


Harewood House, from the South West


(?) 1801

Harewood House, from the South West


(?) 1801

Harewood House, from the South East



A Distant View of Knaresborough, from the South East


1800 - 1801

Plumpton Rocks, near Knaresborough


(?) 1800

The East End of Bolton Priory Church


(?) 1801

Middleham Village, with the Castle Beyond



Middleham Village, with the Castle Beyond


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 Details are transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1804 – Item 1).

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