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 after (?) Edward Dayes

The View from the Great Boathouse, Lake Windermere

1791 - 1792

Primary Image: TG0073: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804), The View from the Great Boathouse, Lake Windermere, 1791–92, graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on laid paper, on an original mount, 37 × 49 cm, 14 ½ × 19 ¼ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • The View from the Great Boathouse, Lake Windermere
1791 - 1792
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on laid paper, on an original mount
37 × 49 cm, 14 ½ × 19 ¼ in

'View from the Great Boat House Windermere Lake Lancashire / T Girtin' on the back, by Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work from a Known Source: Contemporary British
Subject Terms
Lake Scenery; Picturesque Vernacular; The Lake District

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue; Girtin Archive Photograph


Possibly Greenwood, 10 June 1791, lot 97 as ‘Two, on the lakes’; ... Sotheby’s, 10 July 1980, lot 113, £800

About this Work

This view of Lake Windermere from the Great Boathouse was produced during the period of Girtin’s apprenticeship to Edward Dayes (1763–1804). Unlike in the case of its probable pair, Lake Windermere and Belle Isle (TG0078), the source of the work has not been traced; however, because the fifteen-year-old artist could not have visited the Lake District, this work too was almost certainly made after a sketch produced by Dayes during his 1789 trip to the picturesque region. The paired views of Windermere are roughly the same size, are taken from locations just a few kilometres apart and share a number of compositional elements. The round temple on Belle Isle, which is visible on the lake in the companion watercolour, is here glimpsed through the trees in the centre, whilst the boathouse from which this view was taken can be seen to the right of the Dayes composition on which Girtin based Lake Windermere and Belle Isle (see comparative image TG0078), though Girtin obscured the unpicturesque structure with trees in his watercolour. The two Windermere scenes are also closely related stylistically and contain a number of features common to watercolours made by Girtin during his apprenticeship to Dayes. Prominent amongst these are the dark foregrounds, which employ the same Dayesian conventions to represent the foliage and the gently rippling water, with the latter effect closely resembling the use of parallel lengths of colour for the river in Rochester Castle, from the River Medway (TG0057). Again, the brightly lit topographical subject in the middle distance, surmounted by a gentle skyscape depicted by fluid washes of blue, recurs in a wide range of scenes from this period, such as Hereford Cathedral (TG0070) and Rochester, from the North (TG0071).

Early Lake District views such as this work and its pair initially struck me as being teaching exercises in which the apprentice tried out the skills passed on from his master (Smith, 2002b, p.45). It is certainly true that such watercolours were not made as commissions, but the discovery during the writing of this online catalogue of the details of a series of very early sales of Girtin’s works, consigned to the auctioneers by Dayes himself, has opened up a different possibility. Greenwood’s sale on 17 November 1791 included as lot 50 ‘Ulswater, and Windermere lakes’ by Girtin, and again on 7 February 1793, lot 89 by Girtin was described as ‘Two, views in Cumberland’ (Exhibitions: Greenwood, 17 November 1791; Greenwood, 7 February 1793). Although there is no way of knowing whether this work was included in these sales, or another that contained two views ‘on the Lakes’ in June 1791 (Exhibitions: Greenwood, 10 June 1791), it is clear that Dayes had quickly realised that there was a ready market for Lake District scenes by his apprentice made after his own compositions. The dates of the sales, coinciding with the premature end of Girtin’s apprenticeship, suggest another motivation, however, with Dayes presumably seeking financial compensation for the impending loss of his pupil’s labour.

1791 - 1792

Lake Windermere and Belle Isle


1791 - 1792

Lake Windermere and Belle Isle


(?) 1791

Rochester Castle, from the River Medway


1792 - 1793

Hereford Cathedral


1791 - 1792

Rochester, from the North


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.