Samuel Whitbread (1764–1815), a wealthy brewer, Whig politician and patron of contemporary art, owned two watercolours of Welsh views by Girtin (TG1441 and TG1302). Another sketch, which purports to be a view in the grounds of his seat at Southill, Bedfordshire (TG1568), might suggest that Girtin visited and that his watercolours were therefore commissioned from the artist. However, it seems that Whitbread’s significance for Girtin’s career stemmed more from the support that the collector gave to Samuel William Reynolds (1773–1835), the artist’s representative, during a financial crisis. A document in the Whitbread Archive at the Bedfordshire Archives lists a substantial group of Girtin’s watercolours, prints and plates, together with the sums that Reynolds expected to realise from their sale in order to repay his debts to Whitbread, and it is likely that the collector’s works by the artist came from this source (Reynolds, Letter, 1801). The details are contained in a letter from Reynolds to Sawrey Gilpin (1733–1807). The letter is transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1801 – Item 4)

1798 - 1799

An Unidentified Valley, Probably in North Wales



Rhuddlan Castle, from the River Clwyd


(?) 1800

The Doric Temple at Southill