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Works Unknown Artist

Thomas Girtin at the Home of Dr Thomas Monro

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG1925: Unknown Artist, Thomas Girtin at the Home of Dr Thomas Monro, 1795–96, graphite on wove paper, 15.2 × 12.5 cm, 6 × 4 ¹⁵⁄₁₆ in. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newlands (1996.160).

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields (Public Domain)

Unknown Artist
  • Thomas Girtin at the Home of Dr Thomas Monro
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
15.2 × 12.5 cm, 6 × 4 ⅞ in

'Girtin artist' lower left, by (?) Thomas Monro

Object Type
Outline Drawing
Subject Terms
Portrait of Thomas Girtin

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Collection Catalogue


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); then by descent to Arthur William Foxley-Norris (1888–1977); his sale, Sotheby's, 19 December 1962, lot 285 as 'A Volume of Portrait Drawings of the artists of Dr. Thomas Monro's circle'; bought by John Mitchell & Son for Kurt F. Pantzer (1892–1979); bequeathed to the Museum, entering the collection in 1996


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.220; Krause, 1997, pp.64–66

About this Work

Turner at a Drawing Table at the Home of Dr Thomas Monro

This slight pencil sketch of a young Girtin was made at the home of the artist’s important early patron Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) by an unknown artist, possibly Monro himself. It is part of a significant group of sketches of some of the artists, professional and amateur, who visited Monro’s residence at the Adelphi, including Thomas Hearne (1744–1817), Henry Edridge (1768–1821) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). The study of Turner (see figure 1) shows the artist working by candlelight at a desk, no doubt colouring one of the outlines that Girtin was employed by Monro to copy from sketches in his collection. The study of Girtin may well show the artist similarly occupied, though in terms of capturing a likeness it is amateurish in the extreme, and we are dependent on the inscription to confirm the identity of the subject. 

A Portrait Study, Said to Be of Thomas Girtin

This is equally the case with another study of Girtin by a member of the Monro circle (see figure 2). The drawing of a youth, which is twice inscribed with Girtin’s name, was sold in 2010 with an attribution to Henry Monro (1791–1814) (son of Thomas), who would have been a boy of no more than five or six at the time of the artist’s association with Monro (Exhibitions: Sotheby’s, 14 July 2010, lot 71). Arguably that might account for why the image bears no resemblance to any of the authentic portraits that record Girtin’s appearance, but I suspect that the inscription was added later to an image of an anonymous youth by an optimistic owner, or, if it is by Henry Monro, perhaps it was subsequently drawn from memory.

by Greg Smith

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