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Works (?) Thomas Girtin after (?) Edward Dayes

Tynemouth Priory, from the Coast

(?) 1791

Primary Image: TG0055: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after (?) Edward Dayes (1763–1804), Tynemouth Priory, from the Coast, (?) 1791, graphite and watercolour on paper, squared up for transfer, 13 × 20 cm, 5 ⅛ × 7 ⅞ in. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, gift of Mr and Mrs Quinto Maganini (56.134).

Photo courtesy of Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Quinto Maganini (56.134) (All Rights Reserved)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • Tynemouth Priory, from the Coast
(?) 1791
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper, squared up for transfer
13 × 20 cm, 5 ⅛ × 7 ⅞ in

‘T. Girtin’ lower left, by (?) Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Copy from an Unknown Source
Subject Terms
Coasts and Shipping; Durham and Northumberland; Monastic Ruins

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Gallery Website


Possibly Greenwood, 10 June 1791, lot 39 as ‘Three ditto, Tynemouth priory’; ... Mr and Mrs Quinto Maganini; presented, 1956


Johnson Museum Online as 'Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli' (accessed 02/09/2022)

About this Work

This watercolour, hitherto mysteriously titled ‘Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli’, can be identified as a view of the ruined east end of Tynemouth Priory, with the lighthouse behind, looking from the south. As with another coastal view (TG0017), though the quality of the work is poor, an attribution to a very young Girtin cannot be ruled out. What initially appears to be an unlikely conclusion is again supported by the signature, which is consistent with a number of other examples where the ‘T’ of Thomas appears close to the form of a ‘J’. The crude application of the monochrome washes suggests that if the work is by Girtin, it would have to date from his earliest days as an apprentice to Edward Dayes (1763–1804), and the grid of lines would indicate that it was a copying exercise rather than being created as a saleable commodity, as in the case of the best of his apprentice works, such as Rochester Castle, from the River Medway (TG0057).

A View through an Arch of Tynemouth Priory, Showing the Lighthouse

There is no question of the young apprentice travelling north to make a sketch of the coastal view and the work must have been copied from another source, presumably one by Girtin’s master. Dayes visited the north-east coast in 1789 and made finished watercolours from his sketches showing the ruins of Tynemouth Priory from both close to (see figure 1) and further away (see TG1086 figure 1), though Girtin’s specific source has not been discovered. It is possible that the work was made after a print by another artist, but the survival rate for Dayes’ sketches is very low and the lack of a model for this watercolour is not necessarily significant. The chance that Dayes was the model here is increased by the recent discovery that Girtin’s master sent a number of his apprentice’s drawings to auction and that amongst the lots sold at Greenwood’s on 10 June 1791 were ‘Three ditto, Tynemouth priory, &c’ (Exhibitions: Greenwood, 10 June 1791, lot 39). It is hard to believe that such a crude exercise as this would have been sent for sale, but the reference suggests that if this is Girtin’s work then Dayes provided the source material.


Unidentified Coastal Village, Said to Be Clovelly


(?) 1791

Rochester Castle, from the River Medway


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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