Dated Watercolours

  • The Watermill above the Bridge at Charenton, near Paris (TG1889)
  • A Cottage Scene (TG1802)
  • Buildings by a Road, with Passing Figures (TG1917)
  • A Village Scene (TG1918)
  • Kirkstall Abbey, from the Canal, Evening (TG1637)
  • Bridgnorth (TG1755)
  • Sandsend (TG1702)

30 January 1802

Letter from Girtin to John Samuel Hayward (1778–1822) in Newington Causeway, Southwark (Mayne, 1949, pp.58–59) – the letter is now untraced.

Paris, I know not the day of Month

My dear Fellow

Your Friend brought three Letters for you which I sent by the Porter, one day after his departure another came for which I have paid 20f. Now if this is a mistake (as the Letter is not addressed in your name) tis not my fault, tis yours and his, Yours for not informing me, his for not knowing. I am apprehensive the letter is meant for him, however here t’is, you will know. You was unfortunate in your choice of a man to take the letter you left for Mr Demaria, as I suppose you did not wish me to know anything about it, but he very cunningly come to me for it. I would, believe me, have taken it to the post with the others you left me.

Everything in Paris is the same but me, for I am since your departure much better. I hope you will find all well at home, then all’s well that ends well.

Yours, etc, etc, etc, Thos Girtin

This refers to James de Maria (1771–1851), a scene painter who turned to painting panoramas and whose ‘GRAND VIEW of the CITY of PARIS and ENVIRONS … painted from … the North-west Tower of the Metropolitan Church of Notre Dame’ opened in May 1802 in Haymarket (London Courier, 5 May 1802, p.1).

1 February 1802

The Morning Post, 1 February 1802, p.2

GURTIN has been denied the privilege of exhibiting his Panorama in Paris, comprehending a view of London, taken from the British Plate Glass manufactory.

Early 1802

Thomas Shepherd Munden, Memoirs of Joseph Shepherd Munden, Comedian (Munden, 1844, pp.56–57)

Though not like his friend Bannister, possessing a professional knowledge of painting, he had a fine perception of the art. He got together a valuable collection of drawings by Turner, in his earlier and best style, Girtin, Cousins, Cipriani and Bartolozzi. Two companion drawings, on a large scale, which he possessed, – Wells Cathedral, by Turner, and Durham Castle by Girtin, – were works of extraordinary merit. Girtin sent him over from Paris, by Holcroft, one of the last of his productions. An intimacy with the artists, and a ready admittance to their studios, enabled him to obtain these drawings at moderate prices.

The ‘collection of drawings’ put together by the actor Joseph Shepherd Munden (1758–1832) has slipped under the radar, but it was clearly a significant one. The watercolour he owned by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), showing a view of the west front of Wells cathedral, was sold at auction in 1862 with the note that it was ‘Painted for Mr. Munden’ (Exhibitions: Foster, 24 April 1862, lot 80). The watercolour, dating from c.1796 and measuring 42.4 × 54.7 cm, is now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery (LL 3780). Amongst the various views of Durham Castle painted by Girtin it is the watercolour in the Victoria and Albert Museum (TG1077) that is closest in size to Turner’s work (39.2 × 55.1 cm) and with no early provenance this makes it the likeliest candidate to be the ‘companion’ to Wells Cathedral. Frustratingly, there are no clues about the identity of the work ‘Girtin sent him over from Paris, by Holcroft’ (Thomas Holcroft (1745–1809)).

Spring 1802

Thomas Holcroft, Travels from Hamburg, through Westphalia, Holland, and the Netherlands, to Paris (Holcroft, 1804, vol.2, pp.488–98) (1802 – Item 1)

 

Summary of the excursions undertaken by Girtin and the dramatist Thomas Holcroft (1745–1809) in early spring 1802 as related by Holcroft:

Trip 1. They leave Paris, travelling east via the Faubourg Saint-Antoine and re-entering the city via La Rue Moussetard. They visit the Château Vincennes and Charenton (the Mill and the Veterinary College), where Girtin makes two sketches (for plates nineteen and twenty of Picturesque Views in Paris). They make a final stop at Choisy, where the sketch for plate fourteen of the Paris views is drawn.

Trip 2. On the next day, Girtin and Holcroft travel west via ‘Chaillot, Passy, and Auteuil, on our right’ to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. On this day, Girtin leaves a message on the drawing A Cleric Preaching (TG1903): ‘gone to St. Cloud – the Keys are in the pocket of my Blk Silk waistcoat’. They visit Saint-Cloud via the village of Sèvres, making sketches for plates thirteen and eighteen of the Paris views. An excursion to Versailles results in no sketches, but Girtin makes a drawing looking towards the waterworks at Marly (for plate fifteen). The two men arrive at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and stay at Le Grand Cerf. At Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Girtin makes a sketch from the terrace of the palace for plate sixteen of Picturesque Views in Paris before returning to Paris with Holcroft via Malmaison and Neuilly.

Trip 3. A day trip to Montmorency, including the house of the composer André Grétry (1741–1813) (formerly the home of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78)), does not result in any sketches.

Holcroft describes the trip in detail:

CHAPTER CXLVIII.

THE ENVIRONS OF PARIS: TOUR MADE WITH A DECEASED ARTIST: CHATEAU DE VINCENNES: CONSCRIPTS: VILLAGE OF CHARENTON: VETERINARY COLLEGE AND ANATOMICAL PREPARATIONS: A SHEPHERDESS.

THE environs of Paris are not wholly indifferent to a stranger, and therefore deserve some brief notice.

This metropolis, situated on the banks of a river, is nearly surrounded by hills that form a spacious and picturesque amphitheatre. The heights, in some places, are near; as on the side of Montmartre; and at others further removed; yet have a circular aspect. Brick is but little in use; and the villages are chiefly built of stone. Seen at a distance, they might be supposed elegant little towns: entered and examined, they prove to be the abodes of disorder, slovenliness, and poverty. I surely may repeat a phrase used by a lady of fashion; and a lady of fashion, speaking of the Parisians, said they looked like tag rag and bobtail. This may be much more emphatically affirmed of the villagers.

The want of inclosures is a great misfortune to any country. There is a kind of ideal safety, in a country that is covered with hedges, trees, and groves: while the nakedness of a vast champaign makes men shrink from an isolated situation; and the hamlets, farm-houses, and cottages, that are so abundant in England, are not in France to be found; unless partially, in Normandy and Picardy, where the English were so long established. Even in the neighbourhood of Paris, a house at any great distance from other houses is rarely to be seen. I have not travelled through France, the road to Calais and that I have already described excepted: but the want of inclosure is spread over all the north of Germany, as well as through the parts I have seen; and, as I am told, extends unfortunately over the continent of Europe.

The deceased Mr. Girtin, an artist who, though he died young, has left so many honourable testimonies to the high talents he possessed, was at Paris in the summer of 1802; hoping recovery of health from change of air.1 Unable to speak the language, wishing to take views in the environs of Paris, and complaining that he had no friend to accompany and aid him in his little difficulties, though much hurried by my own affairs, I considered it as a kind of duty to genius and the arts, and took that office on myself. These short excursions I will describe; for, according to the inquiries which I made among artists, they were to the places that were esteemed the most picturesque; and to which the students in landscape most frequently resorted.

Our first day’s ride was east. Passing through the fauxbourg Saint-Antoine, we came to the Château de Vincennes: this we desired to enter, but were forbidden. The centinel informed us it still was what it long had been, a prison: the commandant however might easily grant us permission. To him we applied, were civilly received, and a written order was obtained; as we had no desire to look further than at the outside of the building.

As a structure, Vincennes merits no description; the Gothic chapel belonging to it excepted, which is of the highest finish. The numerous small figures, carved in stone, have a sharpness, a simplicity of design, and a variety, that are admirable: their light appearance, pleasant grouping, and interwoven foliage, with insects and crawling snails, delicately chisseled, gave great and unexpected pleasure to Girtin, who delighted in and had studied the Gothic. The donjons, or dungeons, as we have changed the word, and to which we usually annex the idea of subterranean dark prisons, are in the round towers of this old castle; and are famous in history for the men that have been there confined. The whole edifice is falling to decay.

The spacious square was half full of men; who appeared to be peasants, diverting themselves in various ways. ‘Are these prisoners?’ said I, to the centinel. ‘Why—not prisoners; but—‘They are not allowed to pass the gate?’—‘Oh, no.’—The man had a very significant smile, while he spoke: he durst not give any other answer. They were conscripts; men forcibly taken from their families, as army recruits; and, could they have escaped, would not willingly have returned. I heard of various instances in which such men had attacked the guard; and, being without arms, had been cut to pieces, as a warning to others.

Traversing the court, we passed the opposite gate, to look at what is called the forest; which has now as few green trees as Sherwood, and many other forests, that were once so umbrageous. As we returned, we were stopped by the centinel; who insisted that, though we had an order to enter at the other gate, we had none to enter there: and it was not without disputation and an appeal to the guard-house that we were suffered to repass. We were thus in danger of being cut off from our cabriolet, and obliged to walk a considerable round.

We proceeded to Charenton, the road to which lay over this forest; and, not knowing it, we enquired of a peasant, who returned no answer. Our driver had spoken, and I saw the peasant look with a sneer: I repeated the question with some earnestness.—‘You want to know the road to Charenton?’—‘Yes, friend, indeed we do;’ answered I, in an earnest tone.—‘Then it lies before you.’—He thought we could not be serious, and was offended at being mocked. I had before observed this propensity in French peasants. Their roads are little travelled, they know them perfectly themselves, and imagine they are equally well known to every body.

The village of Charenton is beautifully situated at the junction of two rivers; the Marne and the Seine: the views round it are many of them excellent, for the landscape painter: water, foliage, buildings, and mills, are among the objects before him. One or two of these views Girtin has preserved; and, while he made the drawing, I walked on the banks of both the rivers, saw the barge-men removing their wheat, anglers scattered here and there, and conversed with a villager, who informed me that in winter it seldom happened that inundations did not overflow the lands; and that he had seen the mill, which Girtin was then delineating, covered with hanging icicles, when a frost has suddenly succeeded heavy rains.

It was on this occasion that I visited the Veterinary College, and met the politeness I have mentioned from the professor, Godine le Jeune. The anatomical preparations it contains are uncommonly curious, and the labour bestowed upon them has been immense: the system of the nerves is displayed in one animal, of the muscles in another, and in like manner of various other branches. In one department, a collection of horse-shoes is arranged; and I imagine scientific rules on this subject have been carefully prescribed, though practice, from the instance of frost-shoeing before cited, is evidently so very deficient. This is a common paradox, in France: the rules useful and wise; the practice vicious and foolish: Spanish sheep, to improve the French breed and to supply the provinces, are kept here; and our obliging young guide, whom the professor appointed to attend us, insisted he would call the shepherdess, that we might see the different races. I should be glad at least, said Girtin, to see the shepherdess: the very word suggested the vale of Tempe, and Arcadian flocks. The shepherdess came; and a more coarse, ugly, brown little being I would not wish to behold. She however could handle ewe, tup, or wether, explain all their actions and properties, and though not a beauty was thoroughly mistress of her business. She had the oil of the wool on her hands, and the odour in her garments.

From Charenton, we crossed the plain to Choissy: a village famous for containing what had been a royal mansion, situated on the banks of the Seine, demolished in part since the Revolution, and now inhabited by a private person. Here likewise Girtin took a view, while I once more wandered beside the stream. His facility was great, and I was surprised at the dispatch with which he made his drawings: they were not finished, but all the objects were in their proper place, and sufficiently made out for him to accurately understand his own intentions.

In the evening, we returned; and our driver, who pretended he perfectly knew every part of the country, again lost his road. By inquiry, we regained the grand route that leads to Fontainbleau; and, leaving the Bicétre on our left, re-entered the city by la Rue Moussetard in which is the famous Gobelins manufactory.

CHAPTER CXLIX.

AN OPEN COUNTRY NOT PICTURESQUE: THE PARK AND PALACE OF SAINT CLOUD: BEAUTIFUL SITUATION: PERVERSION OF TASTE AT VERSAILLES: ABSURDITY OF BUILDING: SUCH A PALACE IN SUCH A PLACE: SAINT GERMAIN EN L’AYE: MARKET PEOPLE ON A SUNDAY: VIEWS FROM THE TERRACE: INDICATIONS OF MANNERS: BRIDGE OF NEVILLI: VALLEY OF MONTMORENCI: HOUSE OF ROUSSEAU.

ON the morrow, we chose the opposite direction; and driving west left Chaillot, Passy, and Auteuil, on our right, with the heights of Meudon and Mont Calvaire before us. Girtin confirmed the remarks I had made, on the landscapes of France: they are spotty, naked, having no hedges and trees only where there are forests, except very rarely, with few grand masses, ragged broken lines, little verdure, and a prevailing grey tone.

To all this Saint Cloud is a remarkable exception: and it is matter of astonishment that Versailles should ever have been preferred as the favourite residence of royalty. We went to the left by the village of Sève, renowned for its manufactory of porcelaine; and on the wooden bridge, disgraceful to such a neighbourhood but an object fit for a painter, Girtin took a view.

We then passed through the park; where dilapidation and lumber lay strewed, while grandeur stood gazing at a distance. The palace of Saint Cloud was fitting up for the Chief Consul, and the disorder which building every where occasions was necessarily there; it did but correspond with the park, where it was not necessary. Permission was very politely granted, by the officers on guard, and we took a survey of the whole palace; those rooms excepted in which the workmen were busy. The grand gallery was painted by Mignard; but we remembered the hall of Apollo, before which the genius of Mignard stood rebuked. Here we saw the place where the portrait of Louis XVI had hung, with the fleurs de lys, now I hear supplied by the portrait of Bonaparte, on horseback, crossing Mont-Saint-Bernard, his mantle swelled by the wind, his horse treading on ice, rearing on his hind legs, his iron shoes flat, and the spectator certain of his immediate fall. Had the horse been on all fours, and so shod, he could not have safely stood still on ice. This picture David exhibited: he is no horseman, and a cobler once corrected Apelles.

For situation it would be difficult to find one more advantageous than that on which the palace of Saint Cloud is built. It is on a gentle height, looking down upon the river Seine, with the village towering on the left, the palaces of Bellevue and Meudon on the right, and the plain that leads to Paris in front: but whatever art could effect, to disgrace nature, has been studied; and cut trees, stone basons, water works that are annually the delight of the Parisians, on the grand day on which they are all played off, and the whole routine of similar formalities offend the eye, in despite of the foliage, the water, and the beautiful inequalities of the ground. From a seat on the north bank of the river, near the bridge of Saint Cloud, a worthy compeer of the bridge of Sève, a second view was taken, by Girtin, while dinner was preparing.

The village of Saint Cloud is remarkable for being built on a steep declivity up which no heavy load can be dragged, and for the dirt and poverty of its inhabitants; which, being contrasted with the palace, perfectly accords with the pomp and beggary that in these regions are every where in contact.

After dinner, we proceeded to Versailles; where Girtin hoped to find full and delightful employment for his pencil. Never was disappointment more complete: regular forms, parallelograms, squares, octagons, circles, and every thing that line and compass could accomplish, had been assembled with never ceasing labour. The town, the streets, the palace, the gardens are all in this stile: a treatise on geometry would be as good a book of landscape as Versailles can afford. Le petit Trianon is an exception: it is a garden laid out in the English style, and was the favourite of the late queen; but this was at too great a distance for Girtin to walk so far through the park.

Of the grand basons, walks, parterres, bowers, and green arches, cut in the purest Dutch stile, the statues, the sea nymphs, gods, and horses, that swim though made of lead, and spout their watry intestines in the air, with all the catalogued wonders of this enchanted palace, ample details of what they were are in every library. How it happens that they were ever called into existence is of all the wonders of the place infinitely the greatest. Versailles is a town that contains several thousand inhabitants;2 yet this town and this palace have been erected on a spot where, after they were built, it was discovered that no water was to be procured. The pompous pride of Lewis XIV. however would not admit of doubt, or contradiction: the water works at Marli were built, and, instead of disgrace incurred, a miracle was performed: the water of the Seine was thrown up several thousand feet, into a vast aqueduct, from thence conveyed to distant Versailles, and the fame not the folly of the monarch was trumpeted through Europe.

We found the apartments of this abdicated palace stripped of their riches: not only the king and his court, the lords in waiting, the gentlemen of the chamber, the pages, the royal guards, the tall footmen and their laced liveries, with all the living splendour which I had once beheld so active here, but, its treasures that did but seem to live, the pictures that so profusely adorned its walls, were gone. A walk in that superb gallery where all that was powerful once moved, through which law, church, and state were daily passing, eager to pay devotion that too often was hollow, selfish, and unprincipled, excited a deep and melancholy retrospect of the past, with many a blind foreboding of the future. Courtiers have their vices, and kings their foibles, but they are men; and with the faults have the feelings of men: often are the sensibilities of persons so educated quickened till they become exquisitely keen: and, while we wish they were as pure in heart as their elevation and power to do good or evil require them to be, yet, in their sufferings, he who can regard them without pity has nurtured the spirit of persecution, not the benignity of virtue.

As a building, this palace is rather vast than beautiful: the front is of brick, approaching the stile of the sixteenth century; and the back of stone. Its height is so disproportionate, to its great extent, that Girtin humorously said, it appears as if it had been sent to the flattening mill.

Considered as the pretended residence of fine taste, we left it with something like contempt. Girtin had not the least inclination to draw a single line. To Saint Germain en L’Aye, another royal mansion, we next directed our course; and on the road passed the aqueduct, which receives the water thrown up from Marli, and walked under its lofty arches. As we descended the hill, the eye of Girtin was delighted by a number of combining objects; his chagrin was forgotten, and we stopped while he produced another landscape: the third he had taken that day. We arrived at Saint Germain en L’Aye in the evening; and found a supper, wine, and beds, with which we were well satisfied, at Le Grand Cerf.

In the morning, we walked through the town; and, it being Sunday, were surprised to see the shops open, and many country people, so that it almost appeared as if it were market day. The force of habit is incredible! I asked the landlord of the inn the reason of this? and he denied that it was so! I then took him to the door, and showed him the shops and the people: on which he seemed half to recollect himself, and answered that the country people would all be served and the shops shut before noon. We did not depart however till three o’clock, and they were then in tolerable activity.

We walked toward the palace: on the right we saw the king’s stables; they were filled with cavalry. The palace itself was become a grand caserne, a barrack, that now: swarmed with soldiers: at the windows nothing was to be seen but themselves, their women, and their shirts, jackets, and stockings, hung to dry. The building is of brick, of no determined architecture, and equally destitute of elegance and of grandeur. From the spacious terrace the view is ample; it is ennobled by the Seine, by distant hills, Marli and its water works, and by a diversity of objects. At the foot of the terrace a vineyard extended; into which, by the aid of a good natured peasant and myself, Girtin made his descent; and, seating himself at an angle formed by the embankment and terrace wall, made a drawing.

In the mean time, I took a ramble, in quest of whatever might offer itself to curiosity; and, making a tour, entered the vineyard to join Girtin, by a road that might be truly styled the place of dilapidation. Huge stones scattered, buildings in ruins, falling arches, which I could not now discover why they had been raised, and vestiges of the progress of time and neglect, were the principal objects. The vineyard was on a steep bank, the gradations of which resembled large unequal furrows. At the bottom of the terrace wall, newts were in abundance; and the Seine beautifully meandered below. The verdure and the foliage of English scenery were not there; but the charms of novelty richly compensated their absence.

As I went, a woman was lying on the wall; when I returned, she was in the same place and same posture: her only business was to attend on a cow, which appeared to require no attendance. I copied the following inscription, which had been made by chalk on a gate; and saw another of a like kind: neither of which afforded a favourable picture of the delicacy of the inhabitants. The spelling I have corrected.

Les deux Deslormes sont connues pour deux putains.

The ribaldry offends, but from this few, places are free: the naming of persons, whether innocent or not, is the most reprehensible part; and, as I saw other persons named in the same way, it was but too certain that the practice was common.

We returned to Paris, leaving Mal-maison on the right, and passing Neuilli; the bridge of which place forms an exemplary proof of the stability of the elliptical arch, for on this it is constructed. The road over it is in a strait line, without any apparent ascent. As a monument of architecture, it is highly esteemed.

We spent another day on a visit to the village of Montmorenci; which was described as overlooking a valley the most delightfully picturesque of any the environs of Paris afforded. Girtin was of a very different opinion, as far as related to landscape painting. This village is situated on a height, and therefore commands a great extent of prospect; but, to speak in his language, the objects did not form masses: they were scattered, and water was wanting; to him an almost insuperable defect. There was a small copse at the back of the village, through which we passed; and the trees individually might each, he said, have been a study for an artist: but they did not correspond with river, building, or height, so as to form a picture.

The only marking feature of the day was the visit we paid to the house where Grétry lives; the once famed habitation of J. J. Rousseau; and here, the memory of its inhabitants out of the question, there was nothing to admire in the building, or the surrounding scenery.

30 March 1802

The 360-degree Panorama of London from the Roof of Albion Mills, produced by Robert Barker (1739–1806) and Henry Aston Barker (1774–1856) in 1795, opens in the new rotunda on the Boulevard Montmartre in Paris.

9 or 10 April 1802

Letter from the artist to his brother, John Girtin (1773–1821), from Paris (The Whitworth, University of Manchester) (1802 – Item 2)

Paris April 9th or 10th

Supposing it likely you may open this letter in presence of some one, say nothing about its contents to any but our Family – I reced your of the 30th and much approve of Sr George Beamonts Plan – of course you will expect to se me home in a short a time, fortnight or three weeks. But what I have most particular to say is, will you contrive to find out wether Haward is or is not painting the view of Paris what sort of a thing it is like to be, and so on, but don’t let your enquiries be known. if tis not doing or doing but Badley, which I think it must be – then Enquire about the Ground west of Temple Bar or opposite to it. tis most likely they will not Build for a length of time on account of the Church, however you can but make enquiries as it is the very best spot in all London and I might then have a Tuch at Paris – there will be no harm done by making those enquiries and letting me know, if there is time before I leave Paris. if it will take to long to get this information, why I shall know it when I return that may do as well. what skeches I make are done from the windows of Hackey Coaches of course they cost a little. I altered my plan directly I got your letter for I had then Begun to skech on a Large scale, and to Colour on the spot. this would have been very tedious. But now I am for getting the Best views I can. & merely skeches.

 Adieu Dicky We shall soon

 shake Hands

 Thos Girtin

In Haste

I think the Panorama here does not answer –

The letter is addressed to:

Mr J Girtin Mr Normans

441 Strand

London

A later partially destroyed note by John Girtin, added to the letter, includes the words ‘to shew that TG … exhibit the Panorama in’. This presumably relates to the evidence that he gathered in response to the Chancery case taken out by Mary Ann Girtin (1781–1843)

17 April 1802

Mr. Christie, A Valuable and Choice Collection of Modern Pictures, and Framed and Glazed Drawings, the Property of a Gentleman, Retiring into the Country, 17 April 1802

The annotated copy of the catalogue in the archive of Christie’s, London, notes the seller as John Henderson (1764–1843). Includes works by Thomas Girtin:

  • 23 – ‘Ruins’
  • 24 – ‘Two, one after Canaletti, and a View of Kelso Castle, Scotland’
  • 25 – ‘The Island of Angelsea, and a View of Snowdon, Wales’
  • 37 – ‘Banditti’
  • 38 – ‘View of Rye, Sussex, sun-set’

1 May 1802

Abernethy Tower (see print after TG0093) is published in The Copper-Plate Magazine (Walker, 1792–1802).

4 May 1802

John Girtin (1773–1821) notes of his brother that he ‘Lent him at the angel when he retd from France’ £2 3s 6d (Chancery, Income and Expenses, 1804).

1 June 1802

John Girtin (1773–1821) records another loan (‘D.o – at Islington’), this time of £1, when Girtin is living with his wife, Mary Ann Girtin (1781–1843), at the home of Mary Ann’s father, Phineas Borrett (1756–1843), at 11 Scott’s Place, Islington (Chancery, Income and Expenses, 1804).

3 June 1802

Anonymous [William Henry Pyne] ‘Anecdotes of Artists of the Last Fifty Years’, Library of the Fine Arts, vol.4, no.18, pp.27–28 (Pyne, 1832b)

William Henry Pyne (1770–1843) reported a conversation with 'Girtin in Company, June 3rd, 1802’:

Lord Elgin offered Girtin 30l. a year, to go with him to Constantinople; and as Lady Elgin possessed a taste for drawing, he wished to know whether he would engage to assist her in decorating fire-skreens, work-tables, and such other elegancies. Girtin replied, ‘that for that department he greatly feared that he was an unfit person; and he must add, that the salary proposed was too small.’ His Lordship remarked, ‘that he was poor.’ Girtin then told him, ‘that he would engage to find a publisher who would return the whole money for the drawings when made’: and this observation closed the conversation. In the course of this negotiation, Girtin had spent useless hours impatiently, by waiting between the hall and the presence-chamber, and had the mortification to learn a severe lesson,—that his talents were not estimated at half the value of those of his Lordship’s valet de chambre.

16 June 1802

The etching for View of the Thuilleries and Bridge taken from the QUAI D’ORSAI, plate one of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1862a).

20 June 1802

The etching for View of the Louvre & Bridge of the Thuilleries taken from PONT NEUF, plate two of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1864).

25 June 1802

The etching for View of the City with the Louvre &c. taken from PONT MARIE, plate three of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1865).

28 June 1802

The etching for View of Pont St Michel, taken from PONT NEUF, plate four of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1866).

6 July 1802

The etching for View of the Thuilleries & Bridge, &c., taken from PONT de la CONCORDE, plate six of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1871a).

The etching for View of PONT NEUF, part of the Louvre, Notre Dame, & the College of four Nations, plate seven of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1872).

12 July 1802

The etching for View of PONT AU CHANGE, the City Theatre, Pont Neuf, Conciergerie Prison, &c, Taken from PONT NOTRE DAME, plate nine of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1876).

16 July 1802

The etching for A View of Pont Neuf, the Mint, &c., plate eight of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1874).

2 August 1802

The Morning Post, 2 August 1802, p.1 (repeated in The Morning Chronicle, 6 August 1802, p.1; The Morning Post, 7 August 1802, p.1)

T. GIRTIN most respectfully begs leave to inform his friends and the public in general, that his GREAT PICTURE of LONDON (108 feet long, and 16 high), taken from the top of the British Plate Warehouse, near Blackfriars-bridge, comprehending London and its environs, will, if Mr. Girtin’s health permits, be open for exhibition THIS DAY, Aug. 2, at Mr. Wigley’s Great Room, Spring-gardens. Admission 1s.

4 August 1802

The etching for View of the Palace & Village of Choisi on the Banks of the SEINE, plate fourteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1882).

8 August 1802

‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 8 August 1802, p.3

T. GIRTIN most respectfully begs leave to inform his Friends, and the Public in general, that his GREAT PICTURE of LONDON (108 Feet long, and 18 Feet high), taken from the top of the British Plate Glass Manufactory near Blackfriars-bridge, shewing all the Churches, Bridges, principal Buildings, &c. with the surrounding Country to the most remote distance, is now Exhibiting, at WIGLEY’S PROMENADE ROOMS, Spring Gardens, from Nine in the Morning till Dusk. Admittance One Shilling. ––– T. G. Likewise informs the Public, that his VIEWS of PARIS, etched by himself, are in a state of great forwardness.

9 August 1802

The etching for View from Palace Terrace, at St. Germain en Laye, the AQUEDUCT OF MARLI, seen in the Distance, plate sixteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1884).

The etching for View of St Cloud & Mount Calvary taken from the PONT de SEVE, plate eighteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1886a).

15 August 1802

Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 15 August 1802, p.262

London and its Environs viewed altogether in picturesque representation, from an exalted situation, commands admiration equal to the astonishment of strangers in perambulating the vast encreasing extent of the metropolis. –The Panorama Picture, by GIRTIN, now exhibiting at Spring Gardens, fills the mind with the most copious and perfect idea of the sublime scenery. It is well worth the notice of the Artist, and must prove highly gratifying to the common observer.

17 August 1802

The etching for View of Pont de la Tournelle & Notre Dame taken from the ARSENAL, plate eleven of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1878).

The etching for View of the Pantheon taken from the ARSENAL, plate twelve of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1879).

18 August 1802

The Morning Herald, 18 August 1802, p.1 (repeated with variations in The Morning Chronicle, 18 August 1802, p.1)

NOW Exhibiting, at the Great Room, Spring-gardens, EIDOMETROPOLIS; or, Girtin’s GREAT CIRCULAR PICTURE of LONDON, WESTMINSTER, and ENVIRONS, (two feet longer than Mr. Porter’s Storming Seringapatam, and contains 1944 square feet) taken from the top of the British Plate Glass Manufactory; commanding a most beautiful view of the Thames, Somerset House, the Temple Gardens, St. Paul’s, and all the Churches, Bridges, principal Buildings, &c. &c. with the surrounding Country to the remotest distance. – Open from nine in the morning till dusk. – Admission one Shilling. – T. G. likewise informs the Public, that some of his Views of Paris are now submitting to their inspection. The Work will consist of about Twenty Plates in aquatinta, and will contain most of the principal Buildings, &c. In Paris. Subscriptions opened as above.

25 August 1802

The Times, 25 August 1802, p.1 (repeated in The Morning Post, 27 August 1802; The Star, 1 September 1802)

EIDOMETROPOLIS; or, GREAT PANORAMIC PICTURE of LONDON, WESTMINSTER, and Environs, now EXHIBITING at the Great Room, Spring-Gardens. Admission 1s. – T. GIRTIN returns his most grateful thanks to a generous Public for the encouragement given to his Exhibition, and as it has been conceived to be merely a Picture framed, he further begs leave to request of the Public to notice that it is Panoramic, and from its magnitude, which contains 1944 square feet, gives every object the appearance of being the size of nature. The situation is so chosen as to shew to the greatest advantage the Thames, Somerset House, the Temple Gardens, all the Churches, Bridges, principal Buildings, &c. with the surrounding Country to the remotest distance, interspersed with a variety of objects, characteristic of this great Metropolis. His Views of Paris, etched by himself, are in great forwardness, and to be seen with the Picture as above.

30 August 1802

Thomas Dibdin’s (1771–1841) comic pantomime Wizard’s Wake; or, Harlequin’s Regeneration opens at the New Theatre, Sadler’s Wells (Dibdin, 1802). According to the playbill, scene three has a ‘Panorama View of Paris, taken from the Village Chaillot’, the same subject as plate five of Picturesque Views in Paris (see print after TG1868a). The playbill is included in volume 3 of A Collection Relating to Sadler's Wells Theatre, Formed by Mr. R. Percival, Comprising Pamphlets, Broadsides, Series of Play Bills and Advertisements, Songs with Musical Notes, also Engraved Views and Portraits, with Autograph Letters from Actors and Others, 14 vols, 1683–1848 (British Library, Crach.1.Tab.4.b.4.).

1 September 1802

‘Monthly Retrospect of the Fine Arts’, The Monthly Magazine, or, British Register, vol.14, part 2 (September 1802), p.159

Mr. Girtin’s EIDOMETROPOLIS, or great circular picture of London, Westminster, and environs, is now exhibiting at the Great Room, Spring-gardens. It is upon a scale of two feet longer than Mr. Porter’s Storming of Seringapatam, and contains 1944 square feet of canvas, commanding a most beautiful view of the Thames, Somerset-house, Temple-gardens, St. Paul’s, and all the churches, bridges, principal buildings, &c. with the surrounding country to the remotest distance.

2 September 1802

The etching for View of Belle Vue & Pont de Seve taken from the TERRACE near Pont de St. Cloud, plate thirteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1881).

The etching for The Water Works at Marli and ST. GERMAIN en LAYE seen in the distance, plate fifteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1883).

4 September 1802

The Morning Chronicle, 4 September 1802, p.1

NOW Exhibiting, at Spring Gardens, GIRTIN’s GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, upon an extensive scale of 1944 square feet, which from its magnitude gives every object the appearance of being the size of nature. Admittance One Shilling.

8 September 1802

The Morning Post, 8 September 1802, p.1 (repeated with variations in The Morning Post, 13 September 1802, p.1; The Morning Post, 16 September 1802, p.1; The Morning Post, 18 September 1802, p.1; The Morning Post, 21 September 1802, p.1; The Times, 9 September 1802, p.1; The Times, 11 September 1802, p.1)

EIDOMETROPOLIS; or, GIRTIN’s GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, WESTMINSTER is now exhibiting at SPRING GARDENS, upon the extensive scale of 1944 square feet, taken from the top of the British Plate Manufactory, Blackfriars-bridge, commanding a most beautiful View of the Thames, Somerset-house, Temple Gardens, St. Paul’s, all the Churches, Bridges, principal Buildings, &c. with the surrounding country to the remotest distance. Admission One Shilling. His Views of Paris are to be seen as above.

18 September 1802

Emily Robertson, ed., Letters and Papers of Andrew Robertson, Miniature Painter (Robertson, 1897, p.83)

In a letter to his brother, Andrew Robertson (1777–1845) notes:

I have sent you a bundle of experiments which I did when I came here, uncertain if should not follow landscape … Walmsley bridge – light washed off. Turner uses it much … very narrow minded. His style is to rub, sponge and wash off lights, draws on thick vellum … Cotman ditto. Girton upon firm cartridge.

21 September 1802

The Morning Post, 21 September 1802, p.1 (repeated with variations in The Times, 22 September 1802, p.1; The Times, 25 September 1802, p.1)

THE EIDOMETROPOLIS; or, GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, WESTMINSTER and Environs, by T. GIRTIN, now EXHIBITING at SPRING GARDENS, continuing to give universal satisfaction, will be exhibited some time longer before it goes abroad. The situation is so chosen, as to shew to the best point of view, the Thames, all the Churches, Bridges, principal Buildings, &c., with the surrounding Country, to the remotest distance, and from the magnitude, gives every object the appearance of being the size of nature. His VIEWS of PARIS are to be seen as above. Admission 1s.

23 September 1802

Letter from the sculptor Thomas Banks (1735–1805) to George Cumberland (1754–1848) (Cumberland Papers, British Library, Add MS 36499)

Many of the Artists have Visited Paris this summer. The National Gallery and the Exhibition are very properly the attraction – Mr President West and his son, Mr and Mrs Flaxman, Mr and Mrs Opie, Mr Farington, Mr Daniel, Mr Girtin, Mr Turner, Mr Hoppner and Mr Fuseli are some the Principals inferior Artists out of Number.

29 September 1802

The etching for View of the Gate of St Denis taken from the SUBURBS, plate ten of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1877).

1 October 1802

‘Monthly Retrospect of the Fine Arts’, The Monthly Magazine, vol.14, part 2 (October 1802), pp.254–55 (1802 – Item 3)

Mr. Girtin’s Eidometropolis at Spring Gardens is very well attended, and, considered in all its points, may fairly be placed in the very first class among the productions in this new and extraordinary appropriation of perspective to painting. The artist, it seems, did not take the common way of measuring and reducing the objects, but trusted to his eye, and has by this means given a most picturesque display of the objects that he has thus brought into his great circle, and, added to this, he has generally paid particular attention to representing the objects of the hue with which they appear in nature, and, by that means, greatly heightened the illusion. For example, the view towards the east appears through a sort of misty medium, arising from the fires of the forges, manufactories, &c. which gradually lessens as we survey the western extremity. Blackfriars-bridge is a prominent object; and St. Paul’s rises with most majestic dignity above all surrounding buildings. Though the Temple-gardens, and some other parts, are of a much brighter tint than the general masses, the whole is in harmony, and the eye is not hurt by spots. The water is pellucid, and, contrary to what we have generally seen in pictures of this description, varies in its colour; that near the shore very properly partaking of the hue of the earth beneath. The craft upon the river is boldly and forcibly relieved: the figures in Blackfriars-road, where there is a ring surrounding two pugilists, are correctly represented; and the horses, asses, &c. have great spirit. The apparent space which the objects seem to occupy, and their relative size, gives then the appearance of being much larger than they really are. The person who attends the visitors measured one of the figures, which proved to be only four inches high; and, to determine a dispute whether some earthen chimney-pots that are on one of the houses, were three or four feet long, did the same by them, and they proved to be no more than six inches! The front of the Albion mills would have been better if it had been more kept down in colour. Westminster-bridge we suspect to be more circular than it is in nature. The two towers of Westminster-abbey appear in one mass, which destroys that lightness and air which constitute a leading beauty in the building.— From the point of view in which it is taken it is probably a true representation; but a license is allowed to painters as well as poets; and where a picturesque effect can be produced, a trifling deviation would, in a picture of this description, be overlooked, or forgiven. On the whole, we consider it as the connoisseur’s panorama, and hope the young and very meritorious artist will obtain the approbation to which he is so justly entitled.

1 October 1802

The True Briton, 1 October 1802 (repeated with variations in The Times, 15 October 1802, p.1; The Times, 20 October 1802, p.1)

The Eidometropolis, or Great Panorama of London, Westminster etc. upon the extensive scale of 1944 square feet, continues to give universal satisfaction, will be exhibited till it goes abroad.

4 October 1802

The etching for A General View of Paris, taken from CHAILLOT, plate five of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1868).

11 October 1802

The Morning Herald, 11 October 1802, p.1 (repeated with variations in The Morning Post, 13 October 1802, p.1; The Morning Post, 22 October 1802, p.1)

EIDOMETROPOLIS; or, GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, &c. by T. GIRTIN, upon the extensive Scale of 1,944 square feet, now EXHIBITING at SPRING GARDENS. T. G. flatters himself that the subject will be found highly interesting from the beauty of the Thames, with Somerset-house, Temple Gardens, and a variety of other objects that adorn its banks; the grandeur of Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s, and combinations of other Churches, &c. in the City, too numerous to mention; the elegance of Blackfriars Bridge, the Monument, the Tower, the Surrey Hills, &c. &c. His VIEWS of PARIS to be seen as above. Admission 1s.

17 October 1802

Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 17 October 1802, p.334

We know of nothing more worthy public patronage than GIRTIN’s Eidometropolis; or, Great Panorama of London, exhibiting at Spring Gardens – the deception is wonderful after seeing it a little while. We strongly recommend it to our friends, particularly in the city, and to the amateurs of the arts. The solemnity of Westminster Abbey, grandeur of St. Paul’s, and combination of all the other churches, &c. have a fine effect. His Views of Paris will be a charming work – they are well chosen and faithful representations.

24 October 1802

Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 24 October 1802, p.340

Belcher and Burke, we suppose, are the two combatants in Mr. GIRTON’S Eidometropolis, or Panorama of London, &c. exhibiting at Spring Gardens, must afford great pleasure to the amateurs of pugilism, as well as of painting – they seem good bottom – the ring is well drawn, and the variety of characters flocking to the battle, are truly humoursome, though the least of its excellencies, as we think is far superior to any thing of the kind we have ever seen. Mr. GIRTON certainly ranks high in his profession; his Views of Paris, which are upon the eve of publication, will be a valuable acquisition to the fine arts.

24 October 1802

‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 24 October 1802, p.3

At Spring-Gardens, – EIDOMETROPOLIS, or Great Panorama of London, by T.GIRTIN, Upon the extensive scale of 1944 square feet of canvas. The View is taken from the top of the British Plate Glass Manufactory, Blackfriars, commanding the most beautiful view of the Thames, with its busy scenery, Somerset-house, Temple Gardens, St. Paul’s, all the Churches, Bridges, &c. with the surrounding Country to the remotest distance. His VIEWS of PARIS to be seen as above where Subscribers names are received, and at T. Girtin’s, Engraver, at No.1, Little Newport-street, Gerrard-street, Soho. –– Admission One Shilling – Children Half Price.

25 October 1802

Letter from Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827) to Thomas Girtin (Roget, 1891, vol.1, p.113)

Dear Sir, – I have just received your letter … The pleasure I feel at your successful labours is much alloyed by the indifferent account you give of your health. You must take care of yourself, and I hope you will be enabled so to settle your concerns that you may pass the winter in Madeira. You will there find ample materials for your pencil, and the air is the most salubrious in the world. I have no doubt but you will secure good impressions for me; and if you will send me a line to let me know you receive this, I will return you a note for the money.

27 October 1802

Mr. Wells, Selection of Prints, Drawings, Portraits, Books, &c., 27 October 1802

Includes a work by Thomas Girtin:

  • 138 – ‘Four drawings of landscapes by Girtin’

28 October 1802

The Morning Chronicle, 28 October 1802, p.1

VIEWS in PARIS, &c.

GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, by T. GIRTIN, upon the extensive scale of 1944 square feet, now exhibiting at Spring Gardens. Admission 1s. His Views of Paris, etched by himself and engraved in Aquatinta by the first Artists in exact imitation of the Drawings, will be published in about a month. Subscribers’ names had as above, and at T. Girtin’s No. 1 Little Newport-street, Soho, where the work may be seen.

Late 1802

Prospectus for Picturesque Views in Paris – a unique printed copy addressed to the architect Sir John Soane (1753–1837) in the form of a franked letter, in the collection of the Sir John Soane’s Museum (no.2347)

Dedicated by Permission

TO

THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARL OF ESSEX

From the Original Drawings in his Lordship’s Possession:

A SELECTION

OF THE MOST PICTURESQUE AND INTERESTING

VIEWS IN PARIS,

And its Environs,

TAKEN IN THE SPRING OF THE YEAR, 1802.

By the Late

MR. THOMAS GIRTIN,

BEING THE LAST PRODUCTIONS OF THAT CELEBRATED ARTIST.

_______________________

PROSPECTUS:

THIS WORK consists of Twenty Plates of various Sizes, as best adapted to the Subjects, Etched by himself, and Acquatinted in exact resemblance of the Drawings, so that those Gentlemen who may not happen to possess any of his Works, will find these Plates Valuable Substitutes. THEY will form One Volume, in Boards; Size, Nineteen Inches by Twenty Seven; and are also intended for Furniture Prints. –– PROOFS, Six Guineas; –– PRINTS, Five Guineas.

No money received until the Delivery, which will be early in January, 1803.

PARIS since the Preliminaries of Peace having been the resort of most of the Fashionable World, and as the Costume, which has been particularly attended to, is so strikingly different to our own, and so extremely Picturesque, and as these are the only Etchings of the late T. GIRTIN, they maybe more worthy the Collection of the Connoisseur.

Mrs. GIRTIN & Mr. J. GIRTIN flatter themselves there need no other Encomium on the Merits of the Work than the Names that already honor the Subscription, either as Gentlemen eminently distinguished for their Patronage of the Fine Arts, or of the Profession; among the Number are

THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARL OF ESSEX

SIR GEO BEAUMONT, Bart. F.A.S.  T. MONRO, M.D.

J. HOPNER, Esq R.A.                    SIR R. HOARE, Bart. F.R.S.   

GEORGE BAKER. Esq.                  S. GILPIN, Esq. R.A.

Right Honorable CHARLES LONG   BENJAMIN WEST, Esq.

M.W. TURER Esq                          J. C. CROWLE, Esq. F.R.S.

SIR WM. BEECHEY, F.A.S. R.A.      HENRY EDRIDGE Esq.

with others too numerous to mention.

SUBSCRIBERS NAMES received at Mr. J. GIRTIN’S, Engraver, &c, 1, Little Newport Street, Gerrard Street, Soho, where the Work may be Seen; and at SPRING GARDENS, where is exhibiting until the First Day of January, 1803, the EIDOMETROPOLIS, upon the extensive Scale of 1944 Square Feet; which from its deceptive power, grandeur of Effect, and astonishing correctnessof design, is allowed by all the most eminent in the Profession, to surpass anything of the kind ever yet seen.

Admittance at SPRING GARDENS, One Shilling.

The list is headed by George Capel-Coningsby, 5th Earl of Essex (1757–1839) and six of Girtin’s most important patrons: Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827), Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758–1838), Sir Charles Long (1760–1838), John Charles Crowle (1738–1811), Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) and George Baker (1747–1811). The members of the ‘Profession’ are headed by the president of the Royal Academy, Benjamin West (1738–1820), and include four academicians – Sir William Beechey (1753–1839), John Hoppner (1758–1810), Sawrey Gilpin (1733–1807) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) – as well as an associate member, Henry Edridge (1768–1821).

31 October 1802

Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 31 October 1802, p.349

Dr. ARNOLD, whose decease has just been mentioned, was so fascinated with Mr. GIRTIN’s Eidometropolis, exhibiting at Spring Gardens, when it first opened, as to lay himself all along on the platform viewing this matchless production of art for two hours and upwards, expressing the greatest satisfaction, as do all that see it. We are happy to find Mr. GIRTIN is publishing his Views of Paris, they are so finely acquatinted, as we can scarcely discriminate them from the Original Drawings, particularly as being etched by himself, they retain all that truth of character for which this Artist is so excellent. – The Public may best judge of their excellence by a visit to his Eidometropolis, where are also specimens of the work.

1 November 1802

The date is inscribed on the old mount of St Ann’s Gate, Salisbury (TG1756) by John Girtin (1773–1821), making it the artist’s last work, left unfinished at his death. The very specific reference in the obituaries to the fact that the artist was working until ‘8 days of his death’ (Gentleman’s Magazine, February 1803; Monthly Magazine, February 1803) corroborates this and suggests that the well-informed writer or writers were briefed by John Girtin himself.

2 November 1802

The Times, 2 November 1802, p.1 (repeated with variations in The Morning Herald, 3 November 1802, p.1; The Times, 4 November 1802, p.1; The Times, 9 November 1802, p.1)

VIEWS in PARIS, and GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, by T. GIRTIN, upon the extensive scale of 1944 square feet, now exhibiting at Spring Gardens. Admission 1s. His Views of Paris, consisting of 20 Plates, etched by himself and engraved in Aquatinta by the first Artists in exact imitation of the Drawings, will be published in about a month. Subscribers names had as above, and at J. Girtin’s, No. 1, Little Newport-street, Gerrard-street, Soho, where the Work may be seen.

9 November 1802 (Tuesday)

Thomas Girtin dies in his studio above the shop of the frame maker Mr Norman at 441 The Strand.

11 November 1802

The Times, 11 November 1802, p.1 (repeated in The Morning Post, 11 November 1802, p.1)

For the BENEFIT of Mr THOMAS GIRTIN’s WIDOW and CHILD, &C. THE Public are most respectfully informed, that in consequence of the decease of Mr. Thomas Girtin, his PANORAMA of LONDON, exhibiting at Spring Gardens, will be shut till after his interment, when it will be re-opened for the Benefit of his Widow and Child, under the management of his Brother, Mr. John Girtin.

12 November 1802

The Morning Herald, 12 November 1802, p.2

We feel truly sorry to announce to the Public the death of that very uncommon and distinguished artist, Mr. Thomas Girtin, on Tuesday last. The Arts have never experienced a greater loss, nor his friends a man more worthy their esteem: pitied and respected by all that really knew him, for the warmth of his heart, disinterested disposition, and manly independence. His works, which grace the collections of many of true taste, prove the just and happy light in which he saw nature. His Panorama of London, exhibiting at Spring-gardens, will serve, though only his second attempt in oil, as a monument to perpetuate his fame; and his work of Paris, which he has just lived to complete.

13 November 1802

The True Briton, 13 November 1802, p.2

Mr. GIRTIN, who died on Tuesday last, was one of the most promising Artists of the day. His style resembled that of TURNER who has become so popular; but, with a great boldness, he was not so obscure. The death of such a man as GIRTIN, is really a great loss to the Arts; and among all the present race of Painters he has hardly left his equal in genius and in taste.

13 November 1802

The Morning Chronicle, 13 November 1802, p.3 (repeated with variations in Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 14 November 1802, p.368; The Monthly Mirror, vol.14 (December 1802), p.360)

The Arts have suffered a severe loss in Mr. GIRTIN, the Painter, who died on Tuesday last greatly lamented.

15 November 1802

‘Died’, Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 15 November 1802, p.3 (repeated in the Exeter Flying Post, 18 November 1802, p.1)

On Tuesday, Mr. Thos. Girtin, the artist, whose paintings grace many of the best collections: his Panorama of London, exhibiting at Spring Gardens, and that of Paris, which he just lived to finish, are however the chief monuments of his talents.

17 November 1802

Girtin, aged 27, is buried in the churchyard of St Paul’s, Covent Garden. Amongst those present are Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827), Sir William Beechey (1753–1839), Thomas Hearne (1744–1817), Henry Edridge (1768–1821) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851).

18 November 1802

The Times, 18 November 1802, p.1

For the BENEFIT of Mr THOMAS GIRTIN’s WIDOW and CHILD, &C. THE Public are most respectfully informed, that the EIDOMETROPOLIS, or Great PANORAMA of LONDON, is now exhibiting at Spring Gardens, under the management of his Brother, Mr. John Girtin.

19 November 1802

The Morning Herald, 19 November 1802, p.3

In consequence of Mr. Thomas Girtin’s decease, we understand, the Eidometropolis is now exhibiting at Spring Gardens, for the benefit of his Widow and Child, &c. under the conduct of his brother, Mr. John Girtin, as hitherto. To pass any encomium on this extraordinary production of art would be needless, Mr. Girtin’s talents being too well known; it has had the decided approbation of all the profession, and is allowed to surpass any thing of the kind ever yet seen; and we doubt not but the Public, ever famed for acts of beneficence, will, as on all similar occasions, exert their strongest influence for the Widow and Offspring particularly, from the great esteem they had for this uncommon Artist and his works.

21 November 1802

‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 21 November 1802, p.3 (repeated with variations in The Morning Post, 23 November 1802, p.1; The Times, 26 November 1802, p.1; ‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 28 November 1802, p.3; ‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 1 December 1802, p.3; ‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 16 January 1803, p.3)

At Spring-Gardens (for the Benefit of Mr. GIRTIN’S Widow and Child), the EIDOMETROPOLIS, or GREAT PANORAMA of LONDON, upon the extensive scale of 1944 Square Feet. – Admittance One Shilling. – Mrs. G. returns her most grateful Thanks to a generous Public for their favours during Mr. Girtin’s life, and humbly solicits their future patronage, flattering herself, as the Eidometropolis, from its descriptive power, and grandeur of effect, has met with the greatest approbation from all the most eminent in the Profession, it will be found a subject highly worthy their notice. – Mr. G.s Views of Paris, which he had just lived to complete, will be published by his Brother, Mr. J. Girtin, No 1, Little Newport-street, Gerrard-street, Soho, where the Work may be seen, and as above.

1 December 1802

The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol.72, part 2 (December 1802), p.1163

Amongst the death notices:

Mr Thomas Girtin, artist; whose Panorama of London, exhibiting at Spring gardens, will serve, though only his second attempt in oil, as a monument to perpetuate his fame; as will also his work of Paris, which he has just lived to complete. The lovers of classical taste and ancient art will join with us in regretting that circumstances interfered to prevent Mr G. closing with the offer of accompanying Lord Elgin to Constantinople.

4 December 1802

Letter from Paul Sandby Munn (1773–1845) to ‘T. Jones Esq’ (National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Harrison Family Papers (Minor Deposit 623B / 61))

Poor Girtin has left behind him nothing but his sketches: a tribute.

6 December 1802

The Morning Herald, 6 December 1802, p.3 (1802 – Item 5)

The recent death of that extraordinary and celebrated young artist, Mr. Thomas Girtin, may be considered as a national loss. The Eidometropolis, exhibiting at Spring-Gardens, both in magnitude and effect, stands unrivalled. This exquisite production of art, containing 1944 square feet, was painted by him in the 26th year of his age, and, though only his second performance in oil, and that too while labouring under ill state of health, shews his strength of mind, and wonderful resolution. We advise our Readers not to lose the opportunity of seeing it before it closes, which will be on the last day of this month, when, we believe, it will come to the hammer. In viewing this magnanimous concern, the Connoisseur stands enraptured, and feels an emulation in protecting genius; and every Briton and lover of his country also, in seeing his native place, glory of the world, so finely and truly pourtrayed. The accuracy of Mr. Girtin’s eye was such, that every house is attended to, all the churches, bridges, the Thames, &c. with the numerous craft, Blackfriars-bridge, and the Surrey Road, are embellished with the astonishing variety of objects that characterise this great commercial City. — It might be fitted up, and form an elegant object in a Nobleman or Gentleman’s park; it would be novel, and would furnish its owner with an opportunity of seeing London though in the country, and would be particularly gratifying to his visitors, from the endless variety it contains. The Antiquary in a few years would see what London was, and mark the great alterations that are about to take place, particularly at London bridge. It has been often pointed to this Government, the want of a National Repository of the Arts, similar to the Louvre of France; this we think would make a proper object and might be worthy their attention. Before we take our leave, we request our friends to take notice of the smoak floating across the picture from Lukin’s Foundry, the impending storm over the City, and the grandeur of St. Paul’s. It is rather singular, that Mr. Girtin should draw the two principal Cities in the Universe, London and Paris; the public will soon be favoured with 20 Plates, Views of the latter, etched by himself, a work which he had just lived to accomplish. As they are the only etchings of this Artist, they will be the more valuable.

6 December 1802

The Morning Chronicle, 6 December 1802, p.1

In an advertisement for Girtin’s Picturesque Views in Paris, it is said that the Eidometropolis will remain on display

In consequence of Mr. Thomas Girtin’s decease, we understand, the Eidometropolis is now exhibiting at Spring Gardens, for the benefit of his Widow and Child, &c. under the conduct of his brother, Mr. John Girtin, as hitherto. To pass any encomium on this extraordinary production of art would be needless, Mr. Girtin’s talents being too well known; it has had the decided approbation of all the profession, and is allowed to surpass any thing of the kind ever yet seen; and we doubt not but the Public, ever famed for acts of beneficence, will, as on all similar occasions, exert their strongest influence for the Widow and Offspring particularly, from the great esteem they had for this uncommon Artist and his works.

8 December 1802

The Morning Chronicle, 8 December 1802, p.3

General Andreossi, with several other fashionables, intends this week or next, visiting the Eidometropolis, Exhibiting at Spring Gardens, painted by the late uncommon artist Mr. Thomas Girtin.

16 December 1802

The aquatint View of the Thuilleries and Bridge taken from the QUAI D’ORSAI, plate one of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1862b). Girtin’s etched plate had been worked in aquatint by Frederick Christian Lewis (1779–1856).

The aquatint View of the Louvre & Bridge of the Thuilleries taken from PONT NEUF, plate two of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1864a). Girtin’s etched plate had been worked in aquatint by Richard Bankes Harraden (1778–1862).

The aquatint View of the City with the Louvre &c. taken from PONT MARIE, plate three of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1865b). Girtin’s etched plate had been worked in aquatint by Frederick Christian Lewis (1779–1856).

The aquatint View of Belle Vue & Pont de Seve taken from the TERRACE near Pont de St. Cloud, plate thirteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1881a). Girtin’s etched plate had been worked in aquatint by Frederick Christian Lewis (1779–1856).

The aquatint View of St Cloud & Mount Calvary taken from the PONT de SEVE, plate eighteen of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1886b). Girtin’s etched plate had been worked in aquatint by Frederick Christian Lewis (1779–1856).

18 December 1802

The aquatint View of Pont de la Tournelle & Notre Dame taken from the ARSENAL, plate eleven of Picturesque Views in Paris, is published (see print after TG1878a). Girtin’s etched plate had been worked in aquatint by Frederick Christian Lewis (1779–1856). 

18 December 1802

The Morning Herald, 18 December 1802, p.1 (repeated in ‘Exhibitions’, The Observer, 19 December 1802, p.3)

EIDOMETROPOLIS. – Mrs. GIRTIN most respectfully begs leave to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and Public, that in consequence of her late husband’s death, the EIDOMETROPOLIS will continue exhibiting at Spring-Gardens only until the 1st of January next, when it will be taken down for disposal. – The VIEWS of PARIS to be seen as above, and Proposals had, and at Mr. J. Girtin’s, Engraver, No.1, Little Newport-street, Soho.

24 December 1802

The Morning Chronicle, 24 December 1802, p.3

The article lists amongst the ‘new Scenes’ included in Thomas Dibdin’s (1771–1841) pantomime Harlequin’s Habeas, or The Hall of Spectres two painted from Girtin’s drawings: ‘View of Paris (taken on the spot by the late Mr. Girton) – Richards; St. Dennis’s Gate, Paris, ditto – Phillips’.

27 December 1802

Thomas Dibdin’s (1771–1841) pantomime Harlequin’s Habeas, or The Hall of Spectres opens at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, with two scenes based on views taken by Girtin in Paris (presumably the pencil drawings used for Picturesque Views in Paris, plates nine and ten: TG1876a and TG1877b). Songs, Chorusses, and a Sketch of the Scenery in Harlequin’s Habeas, or the Hall of Spectres: A New Pantomime, in Two Parts (Dibdin, 1802) provides a summary of the action. Amongst the scenery in Act Two it lists:

SCENE VI.

Pont-au-Change, Conciergerie, &c.

From a Drawing taken on the Spot by the late

Mr. Girtin (RICHARDS.)

SCENE VII.

St. Dennis’s Gate, Paris.

From a Drawing taken on the Spot by the late

Mr. Girtin (PHILLIPS.)

28 December 1802

‘The New Pantomimes’, The Morning Post, 28 December 1802, p.3

The article describes the popularity of the pantomimes this year. It quotes extensively from the playbill:

The claims of this piece are mostly original, and therefore they must be favourably received. The scenery is as beautiful as the imagination can fancy. Dover Cliffs, Canterbury, Rochester Bridge, and Paris, particularly captivated.

It mentions a balloon that is sent over the audience as well as other tricks.

1802

The Watermill above the Bridge at Charenton, near Paris

TG1889

1802

A Cottage Scene

TG1802

1802

Buildings by a Road, with Passing Figures

TG1917

1802

A Village Scene

TG1918

1802

Kirkstall Abbey, from the Canal, Evening

TG1637

1802

Bridgnorth

TG1755

1802

Sandsend

TG1702

1797 - 1798

Durham Castle and Cathedral, from below the Weir

TG1077

1802

A Cleric Preaching from a Pulpit

TG1903

1792 - 1793

Abernethy Round Tower

TG0093

1802

The Tuileries Palace and the Pont Royal, Taken from the Quai d’Orsay: Pencil Study for Plate One of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1862a

1802

The Louvre and the Pont Royal, Taken from the Pont Neuf: Pencil Study for Plate Two of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1864

1802

The Ile de la Cité, with the Louvre and the Pont Neuf in the Distance, Taken from the Pont Marie: Pencil Study for Plate Three of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1865

1802

The Pont Saint Michel, from the Pont Neuf: Pencil Study for Plate Four of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1866

1802

The Tuileries Palace and the Pont Royal, Taken from the Pont de la Concorde: Colour Study for Plate Six of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1871a

1802

The Pont Neuf, Part of the Louvre, Notre Dame and the College of the Four Nations: Pencil Study for Plate Seven of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1872

1802

The Pont au Change, the Théâtre de la Cité, the Pont Neuf and the Conciergerie Prison, Taken from the Pont Notre Dame: Pencil Study for Plate Nine of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1876

1802

The Pont Neuf and the Mint: Pencil Study for Plate Eight of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1874

1802

The Palace and Village of Choisy from the Banks of the Seine: Pencil Study for Plate Fourteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1882

1802

The View from the Palace Terrace at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Aqueduct of Marly in the Distance: Pencil Study for Plate Sixteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1884

1802

Saint-Cloud and Mont Calvaire, Taken from the Pont de Sèvres: Pencil Study for Plate Eighteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1886a

1802

The Pont de la Tournelle and Notre Dame, Taken from the Arsenal: Pencil Study for Plate Eleven of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1878

1802

The Panthéon, from the Arsenal, Looking across the Seine: Pencil Study for Plate Twelve of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1879

1802

Panoramic View of Paris from Chaillot, Looking Up the Seine with the Dome of Les Invalides: Colour Study for Plate Five of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1868a

1802

Bellevue and the Pont de Sèvres, Taken from near the Pont de Saint-Cloud: Pencil Study for Plate Thirteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1881

1802

The Water Works at Marly, Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the Distance: Pencil Study for Plate Fifteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1883

1802

The Porte Saint-Denis, Viewed from the Suburbs: Possible Study for Plate Ten of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1877

1802

A Panoramic View of Paris from Chaillot, Looking Up the Seine with the Dome of Les Invalides: Pencil Study for Plate Five of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1868

(?) 1802

St Ann’s Gate, Salisbury

TG1756

1802

The Tuileries Palace and the Pont Royal, Taken from the Quai d’Orsay: Colour Study for Plate One of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1862b

1802

The Louvre and the Pont Royal, Taken from the Pont Neuf: Colour Study for Plate Two of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1864a

1802

The Ile de la Cité, with the Louvre and the Pont Neuf in the Distance, Taken from the Pont Marie: Colour Study for Plate Three of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1865b

1802

Bellevue and the Pont de Sèvres, Taken from near the Pont de Saint-Cloud: Colour Study for Plate Thirteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1881a

1802

Saint-Cloud and Mont Calvaire, Taken from the Pont de Sèvres: Colour Study for Plate Eighteen of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1886b

1802

The Pont de la Tournelle and Notre Dame, Taken from the Arsenal: Colour Study for Plate Eleven of ‘Picturesque Views in Paris’

TG1878a

Footnotes

  1. 1 From my conversation with him, as well as from the inconsiderate manner in which I saw him sit on the ground to make his designs, I am persuaded his death was occasioned by this practice. In England, where the earth is rarely free from moisture, such an indiscretion, if but of a few minutes, may be fatal.
  2. 2 It owes its origin to Louis XIV and contains from ninety to a hundred thousand inhabitants when the court is there, which brings in its suite sixty thousand persons wherever its residence is of long continuance. Dictionaire Universel de La France: tome vi. p. 562. Paris 1771.