Anonymous, Ackermann’s New Drawing Book of Light and Shadow, in Imitation of Indian Ink (Anonymous, 1809–12, p.ii)

Since this period, and within the last twenty years, a constellation of geniuses has arisen; of whom were Girtin, whose works were distinguished by a force of colouring which astonished. Girtin whose genius was only exceeded by his noble desire to communicate all he knew of his favourite art to his contemporaries; and Turner, who has united in his drawings every excellence that Powerful genius and fine feeling could accomplish.

Turner, Girtin, Glover, Havell and Varley … [all] make a secondary consideration of the outline, and judiciously sacrifice the minutiae of details to the general effect, or sentiment of the subject, and make coloured studies of the buildings and trees, of the skies, the water, and mark the depth of shades in the reflections; and proportion of bright lights, the middle tints, and thus combine a pleasing general effect. By these means they are enabled to take up a subject at any subsequent period, deriving information from it, which added to their knowledge of the general principles of their art deduced from this mode of practice, enables them to complete their picture with that facility, and beauty which characterises their respective works.


12 June 1812

Will of John Raphael Smith (1752–1812) (National Archives (Prob 11/1534, f.303r))

Unto my very worthy and excellent friend John Benson of Thorne in the County of York … all the drawings in my possession by Girtin and De Wint and six pictures and six books of prints to be chosen by him out of my collection.