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Works (?) Thomas Girtin and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner after (?) James Moore

Tolleshunt D’Arcy Church

1795 - 1796

Primary Image: TG0252: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) James Moore (1762–99), Tolleshunt D'Arcy Church, 1795–96, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 19 × 28 cm, 7 ½ × 11 in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Bonhams (All Rights Reserved)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) James Moore (1762-1799)
  • Tolleshunt D’Arcy Church
1795 - 1796
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
19 × 28 cm, 7 ½ × 11 in
Object Type
Collaborations; Studio Watercolour; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Essex View; Gothic Architecture: Parish Church

Tolleshunt D’Arcy Church (TG0317)
Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2010


R. Brandis, as 'Possibly Apsley Guise Church, Bedfordshire, before restoration' by Joseph Mallord William Turner; Spink and Son Ltd; Bonhams, 22 April 2010, lot 90 as 'Chingford Church, Essex' by Joseph Mallord William Turner, £8,400

About this Work

This view of the church of St Nicholas in Tolleshunt D’Arcy in Essex appeared on the art market in 2010 attributed to Girtin’s contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). As one can see from overlaying the two drawings, the monochrome appears to replicate a watercolour that Girtin produced for his first significant patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (TG0317). The drawings are the same size and the buildings align perfectly over each other, suggesting that tracing was used in the production of this work. There are, however, differences indicating that the drawings were made from a common source rather than being copied one from the other. The monochrome study omits the figure in the foreground and has a different distribution of light and shade, and the stains on the walls, which create an interesting set of patterns in the stonework in the more finished watercolour (TG0317), are replaced by a more conventional representation of the masonry here.

If Andrew Wilton’s suggestion that both drawings are after an untraced sketch by Moore is likely to be correct, his attribution of the monochrome to Turner in the catalogue to the 2010 sale is not so clear-cut (Exhibitions: Bonhams, 22 April 2010, lot 90). It is true that Turner was commissioned by Moore to produce a watercolour of Tintern Abbey (see TG0172 figure 1), but that was painted after a drawing that he himself had made on the spot, and there are no other examples of him basing a composition on a sketch by Moore. Indeed, given that this work did not come from the Moore family collection, it is difficult to think how Turner could have got access to one of his sketches to copy from. However, there is another possible explanation. Perhaps the watercolour was produced at the house of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), who commissioned Turner and Girtin jointly to produce a vast number of watercolours from outline drawings at this date. If this was the case, it was Girtin himself who provided the basic framework of the composition in the form of a traced outline, and this was then coloured by Turner in monochrome washes, as he so often did at this time when working for Monro. Unfortunately, the pencil work is too well hidden to confirm the joint authorship of Girtin and Turner, but that would nonetheless explain the work’s obvious congruence with the other watercolour as well as the differences.

Image Overlay

(?) 1795

Tolleshunt D’Arcy Church


(?) 1795

Tolleshunt D’Arcy Church


1792 - 1793

The Interior of Tintern Abbey, Showing the Choir and North Transept


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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