31 July 1811

The soft-ground etching A Windmill by a River by William Pengree Sherlock (1776–c.1851) (see print after TG1451) is published by Thomas Palser (active 1789–1843).

14 September 1811

Mary Ann Girtin (1781–1843), the artist’s widow, marries a wealthy banker, Edward Cohen (1816–87).

4 October 1811

Kenneth Garlick and others, eds., The Diary of Joseph Farington (Farington, Diary, 4 October 1811)

Joseph Farington (1747–1821) discovers ‘Five drawings by Girtin’ in the collection of William Wells (1768–1847) of Redleaf in Kent.

Around 1811

Andrew Wilton with Rosalind Mallord Turner, Painting and Poetry: Turner’s Verse Book and His Work of 1804–12 (Wilton, 1989, p.179)

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) wrote a number of verses on the arts in an often illegible hand in the endpapers of his copy of a mid-eighteenth-century textbook, The Artist’s Assistant. The first part of the poem appears to be a (fragmentary) lament for Girtin. The relevant lines have been transcribed by Rosalind Turner as:

Twould call the memory from his C G [Covent Garden] room

Where lies the honor’d Girtin’s narrow tomb

Not so by this he fits thy powrfull sway

While his frail tenament of mortal clay

and thou who must not sup thy Bohea Tea

or show us living artists where in he lay

Confusingly, the verse appears to continue on the previous page. It has been transcribed as:

here struggling with each other for the palm of worth

but not the plam [palm] of Patronage accursed

The sweet fore finger of a man of taste

sure held it offered but withdraw[n] in haste

hark the dear teacher guards the

and evade the debt like a soapt pig tail

Presumably the ‘palm of worth’ is contested by Girtin and Turner, and the ‘man of taste’ is one of their shared patrons – Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), Edward Lascelles (1764–1814) or perhaps Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827).

Late 1811

John Linnell, Autobiographical Notes, quoted in Katharine Crouan, John Linnell: Truth to Nature (Crouan, 1982b, p.vii)

John Linnell (1792–1882), recalling his early days as an artist, states:

[Turner] was at that time called the Great Turner since the death of Girtin who was reckoned the greatest genius in Water-Colour painting. Turner was looked upon as the inheritor of all that Girtin had discovered, and to which he was adding largely.

1795 - 1800

A Windmill by a River