A view of a castle watercolour over pencil 7 x 11.5cm (2 3/4 x 4 1/2in).
This watercolour belongs to a period in Girtin's career when he was working at the home of the consultant physician to King George III, Dr Thomas Monro (1759-1833). Monro used his house at no.8 Adelphi Terrace as an academy where young artists would study and copy works by eminent artists. It was during this time (1790s) that Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was also working at Monro's academy. Both Turner and Girtin worked together on pictures where Girtin drew the outlines and Turner applied the colour. This is a difficult period in the oeuvre of both Turner and Girtin as they were stylistically close at this time which can often make it difficult to decipher which work, or indeed part of a work, is attributable to which artist.
On Dr Monro's death in 1833, Christie's held a sale of his posessions between 26 - 28 June. During the sale, 100s of works were grouped into lots which were attributed to Turner. As Andrew Wilton points out, not all the works attributed to Turner were by the artist.(1) A number of works in the Monro sale were by Girtin, including a number of coloured views of landscapes and castles on small cards. (2) The present lot is a watercolour after a sketch by Girtin's patron, James Moore (1762-1799), the antiquarian and amateur artist. James Moore created a number of topographical sketches which Girtin then worked into more finished watercolours. An example of this is Ely Cathedral (c. 1794) in the Ashmolean, Oxford. Other examples of Girtin working in this manner can be found in the Turner Bequest at the Tate Britain such as Raby Castle, Co. Durham circa 1797.
1. Turner Studies 1984 vol.4 'The "Monro School" Questions: Some Answers' p. 8. 2. Op. cit, p. 9.
We would like to thank Andrew Wilton for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.