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Works (?) Thomas Girtin

A Lake Scene with Cattle, Said to Be in Harewood Park

1798 - 1799

Primary Image: TG1545: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Lake Scene with Cattle, Said to Be in Harewood Park, 1798–99, graphite and watercolour on paper, 12 × 24.7 cm, 4 ¾ × 9 ¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive, PA-F03344-0029 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Lake Scene with Cattle, Said to Be in Harewood Park
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
12 × 24.7 cm, 4 ¾ × 9 ¾ in
Object Type
On-the-spot Colour Sketch
Subject Terms
Lake Scenery; The Landscape Park; Yorkshire View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive

About this Work

A Lake Scene, Said to Be in Harewood Park

This is one of a pair of lake, or possibly river, scenes that are said to depict a view in Harewood Park in Yorkshire, the seat of Girtin’s patron Edward Lascelles (1764–1814) (see figure 1). The artist’s large-scale distant views of Harewood House (TG1547 and TG1548) no doubt required him to make studies in the park, but there is nothing in either of these scenes to suggest that they depict the banks of the lake that Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716–83) created at the heart of the estate after 1772. It may be that the drawings were identified as showing a view at Harewood on the basis of an old inscription, but this has not been recorded, and in any case the only images I have found that show the banks from the same level do not include the hills seen here. Indeed, I would go further to suggest that the association of this scene with Harewood reflects a overemphasis on the importance of the Lascelles connection in general. Girtin’s stay at Harewood in 1800 is documented and there is strong circumstantial evidence for an extended visit in 1799, but that does not warrant the speculative identification of every park scene of roughly the right date as belonging to this house, as has occurred with A Circular Temple (TG1544). 

Unfortunately, the two sketches are known only from black and white photographs, and I am therefore in a poor position to determine their precise status; are they sketches coloured on the spot – indeed, are they by Girtin? Features such as the clumsy depiction of the cattle and the fact that the three swans lack reflections in the water may suggest the work of an amateur follower, but I suspect that the weaknesses in the depiction of the trees may be a consequence of their fading. A final judgement on the drawings must be deferred until better images can be procured.

(?) 1801

Harewood House, from the South West


(?) 1801

Harewood House, from the South East


1799 - 1800

A Circular Temple, Said to Be in Harewood Park


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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