18 February 1775

Thomas Girtin is born at Great Bandy Leg Walk, Southwark (now called Great Guildford Street), on 18 February 1775. The date of birth is inscribed on a mourning ring owned by his widow and now in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. He is the second son of John Girtin (1738–78), brushmaker (not ropemaker as sometimes said), and Rosehanna or ‘Rose Hannah’ Girtin (née Townsend, unknown dates). His older brother, John Girtin, is born in 1773 (baptised 19 April) and his sister Mary follows in 1777. Tom Girtin (1913–94) mentions three half sisters: Mary, aged thirteen in 1775; Sarah, aged eleven; and Elizabeth Mary, aged four (Girtin Archive, 39). Rosehanna is the elder John Girtin’s second wife, his first having died in 1771 or 1772.

17 March 1775

The future artist is baptised at St Saviour’s Church, Southwark: ‘Thomas Son of John Girtin, Brushmaker, and Rose Hannah’ (Bell, 1915–17, p.69).

23 April 1775

Joseph Mallord William Turner is born at 21 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden.