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Works Thomas Girtin

Windsor Park and Castle, from Snow Hill

1797 - 1798

Primary Image: TG0907: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Windsor Park and Castle, from Snow Hill, 1797–98, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 20.3 × 27 cm, 8 × 10 ⅝ in. Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire (National Trust) (NT 513824).

Photo courtesy of National Trust Images (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Windsor Park and Castle, from Snow Hill
1797 - 1798
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
20.3 × 27 cm, 8 × 10 ⅝ in

'Girtin' lower centre by Thomas Girtin (the signature has been cut, suggesting that it once extended onto an original mount which has been lost)

Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
The Landscape Park; Windsor and Environs

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
279ii as 'Windsor Castle from the Great Park'; '1798–9'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


Charles Sackville Bale (1791–1880); his posthumous sale, Christie’s, 13 May 1881, lot 90; bought by 'Palser', £25 4s; J. Palser & Sons; bought by Edward Cohen (1817–86), 1881; then by bequest to his niece, Annie Sophia Poulter (c.1846–1924); then by descent to Edward Alexander Poulter (1883–1973); J. Palser & Sons; bought by Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Baron Fairhaven (1896–1966), 24 November 1926; bequeathed to the National Trust, 1966

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1953a, no.86


Mayne, 1949, pl.1; Bunt, 1949, p.37, p.74

About this Work

This view of Windsor Castle, looking across the Great Park from Snow Hill to the south west, essentially repeats a composition from the repertoire of any number of artists at the end of the eighteenth century, including Benjamin West (1738–1820), John Robert Cozens (1752–97) (see source image TG1467) and Paul Sandby (c.1730–1809) (see figure 1). Climbing Snow Hill, about four kilometres to the south, allows the great lateral extent of the castle to be viewed emerging organically from the parkland, with the more formal avenue of the Long Walk showing as a diagonal to the right. Girtin’s earliest views of Windsor, Eton and their surrounds were all drawn after works by other artists (as with TG0157), and, initially at least, this also seems to be the case here. The watercolour certainly bears a close resemblance to a composition by Cozens, best known from the version at the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford, and copied by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) (see TG1467 figure 1). A copy of the same Cozens composition, variously attributed to Girtin and to Turner, also exists (TG1467), though it is currently listed as by an unknown artist. If anything, the watercolour is even closer to another British scene copied by Girtin from Cozens, a view of London from Greenwich Hill (TG0862), which includes a similar foreground and organises the middle ground in much the same way. If that work is by Girtin, about which there is some doubt, it was almost certainly copied at the home of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), where Girtin, together with Turner, realised watercolour versions of numerous compositions by Cozens. Almost without exception, they follow the Cozens source very closely, whilst here, though Girtin has organised the landscape on the same principles, the view is sufficiently different to suggest that like another view of Windsor Castle and the Great Park (TG1369), it was produced from the artist’s own on-the-spot sketch. Though this is far from clear-cut, the conclusion is supported by the existence of another Windsor view, an outline drawing of the castle from the Thames (TG0182), which can plausibly be associated with a visit to the town around 1797–98.

Windsor from Snow Hill in the Great Park

Figure 1.
Paul Sandby (c.1730–1809), Windsor from Snow Hill in the Great Park, (?) 1800, bodycolour on paper, 36.8 × 96.5 cm, 14 ½ × 38 in. Bolton Museum (1963.P.13).

Digital image courtesy of Bolton Council (All Rights Reserved).

The difficulty in establishing the status of both of the distant views of Windsor from the south west, either as copies or as original compositions, stems not simply from the fact that they resemble the work of other artists but also from the fact that they depart from the principle that when Girtin depicted a popular subject, he generally sought out a different angle or viewpoint. In this case it seems that since this particular view continued to sell, the artist was content to bring nothing new to the subject. Thus, although the verdant scene has been compromised by fading, the castle as a potent symbol of national identity still stands proud over the majestic image of the royal parkland, with a herd of deer resting in the sun, safe, at present at least, from the hunt. The mature trees of the park, indelibly associated at a time of war with the ships of the Royal Navy, reflect well on a wise and benevolent monarch who, as in so many views of the Great Park, is the embodiment of the model landowner in the ultimate country estate.

Another work with the same title and measuring 11 ½ × 17 in (29.2 × 43.2 cm) was last recorded as being in the collection of James Heelis (unknown dates) at the end of the nineteenth century (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.211).

1795 - 1800

Windsor Castle, Viewed from the South West


1792 - 1793

Windsor Castle: The Norman Gateway and the Round Tower, with Part of the Queen’s Lodge


1795 - 1800

Windsor Castle, Viewed from the South West


1795 - 1796

London, from Greenwich Hill


1797 - 1798

Windsor Castle and the Great Park, from the South West


1797 - 1798

Windsor Castle, from the River Thames


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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