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Works Thomas Girtin after Jan Peeter Verdussen

Windsor Castle, from the River Thames

(?) 1792

Print after: William Walker (1729–93) and John Walker (active 1776–1802), 'from an Original Drawing by T. Girtin', etching and engraving, 'Windsor' for The Copper-Plate Magazine, vol.1, no.4, pl.7, 1 May 1792, 15 × 20 cm, 5 ⅞ × 7 ⅞ in. Reprinted in Thomas Miller, Turner and Girtin's Picturesque Views, p.109, 1854. British Museum, London (1862,0712.784).

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Artist's source: Jan Peeter Verdussen (c.1700–63), Windsor Castle from the River, oil on copper, 14 × 19.5 cm, 5 ½ × 7 ⅝ in. Anglesey Abbey (National Trust, NT515613).

Photo courtesy of National Trust Images (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after Jan Peeter Verdussen (c.1700-1763)
  • Windsor Castle, from the River Thames
(?) 1792
Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print; Work from a Known Source: Foreign Master
Subject Terms
River Scenery; Windsor and Environs

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
The original known only from the print


Bunt, 1949, p.33, p.85

About this Work

This untraced watercolour of Windsor was engraved and published as ‘from an Original Drawing by T. Girtin’ by William Walker (1729–93) and his son John (active 1776–1802) on 1 May 1792 (see the print after, above). This was the first of more than twenty drawings by Girtin that John Walker engraved for his monthly publication, The Copper-Plate Magazine (Walker, 1792–1802, vol.1). Many of the later engravings were made after scenes Girtin would have sketched on the spot on his travels, but at this date the young artist, his apprenticeship still perhaps not terminated, based his topographical views on images by other artists. In this case Girtin based his drawing either on a painting by Jan Peeter Verdussen (c.1700–1763) dating from around 1750 (see the source image above) or on an untraced print after it. In most cases Girtin carefully adapted his source, but here he simply copied the work by Verdussen down to details such as the boats on the river, the form of the clouds in the sky and the swans to the left. The first drawing by Girtin to be engraved and published was therefore no more than a simple copy, the young artist providing an intermediary stage in the reproduction of a relatively old-fashioned view of Windsor. The intriguing question, however, is why Walker added Girtin’s name to the print rather than that of the Flemish master whose work he copied. May it be that Verdussen did not visit England and that he also worked after another image, with that image providing Girtin’s source as well?

The view from the Thames commissioned from Girtin shows the castle from the west. The text accompanying the engraving describes at some length the castle’s renewed royal connections as the king once more made ‘Windsor his principal residence’. All told, Walker announced, the castle and its surrounds made it ‘the paradise of England’ (Walker, 1792–1802, vol.1).

by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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