Richmond Castle, Yorkshire watercolour over pencil 36.5 x 48.5 cm. (14 1/4 x 19 in.)
PROVENANCE: C.J. Pooley; Thomas Ashton; Miss Eleanor Lupton.
EXHIBITED: London, The Burlington Fine Arts, 1875, no.21; Harewood House, Genius of the North,1999, no.35.
The present work dates from 1797-98 and is a slight variant of the subject engraved in the Copper Plate magazine, pl.clxv, pub. Nov 1st, 1798. The castle and town of Richmond are seen from a height across the river Swale, with the castle keep rising above its surroundings on the centre of the hill. Girtin visited the north of England for the first time in the summer of 1796 on a tour which was to provide many of his important subjects and to mark a crucial turning point in his artistic development. It seems probable that this work derives from a lost drawing from the 1796 tour.
Girtin and Loshak record three other watercolours of Richmond; a view of the castle from the west with the bridge in the foreground drawn in 1798, (Girtin and Loshak, op.cit., no.252i) and an unfinished drawing for this watercolour, (Girtin and Loshak, op.cit., no252ii). There is another view of Richmond Castle in the collection of Leeds City Art Gallery (503). The Leeds version is painted from the east, with the hill sloping towards the road and cottages and the river Swale flowing across the foreground.
LITERATURE: Thomas Girtin and David Loshak, The Art of Thomas Girtin, 1954, no. 235.
To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the watercolours and drawings of Thomas Girtin by Susan Morris.