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Works (?) Thomas Girtin

The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury

1798 - 1799

Primary Image: TG1249: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury, 1798–99, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 21.6 × 32.4 cm, 8 ½ × 12 ¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Agnew's

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
21.6 × 32.4 cm, 8 ½ × 12 ¾ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins;; The West Country: Devon and Dorset

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
344 as 'The Tithe Barn'; '1800'
Description Source(s)
Sale Catalogue; Witt Library Photograph


Herbert Horne (1864–1916); bought from him by Sir Edward Marsh (1872–1953), May 1904; bought from him by Thos. Agnew & Sons (stock no.9708), 3 May 1920; bought by Charles Morland Agnew (1855–1931), 7 February 1922, £60; then by inheritance

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1921, no.27 as ’A Ruined Abbey’; Agnew’s, 1953a, no.104


Oppé, 1921, p.135

About this Work

This view of the great tithe barn at Abbotsbury in Dorset differs from Girtin’s other depictions of the same scene that derive from sketches that he made on his West Country tour in the autumn of 1797 (such as TG1246), in that it shows the whole of the building, including the eastern gable end. The view also includes more of the pond and of the thatched building to the right, and in both respects it resembles to a greater degree the small watercolour of the barn that Girtin painted around 1792–93 for his earliest patron, the antiquarian and amateur artist James Moore (1762–99) (TG0146). This was produced around five years before Girtin visited the site himself, and it was worked up from a sketch that Moore made on his 1791 tour to the area (see source image TG0146). Although it is by no means clear-cut, I think there is something rather naive about the composition that suggests that it too was not based on one of Girtin’s own on-the-spot sketches. Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak date the work to 1800, which, in itself, does not mean that it could not have been copied from another source (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.181). However, given that the work has not been seen in public since the early 1950s and is known only from a poor-quality image, it has not been possible to confirm this. Indeed, and I am loathe to comment on the attribution of a work solely on the basis of an old black and white photograph, the execution appears particularly weak. Until the work’s reappearance confirms the matter either way, I am minded to add a question mark next to Girtin’s name.

1797 - 1798

The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury


1792 - 1793

The Tithe Barn at Abbotsbury, with St Catherine’s Chapel on the Hill


1792 - 1793

The Tithe Barn at Abbotsbury, with St Catherine’s Chapel on the Hill


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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