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Works Thomas Girtin

A Lake Surrounded by Trees, Known as 'The Silent Pool'

1798 - 1799

Primary Image: TG1569: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), A Lake Surrounded by Trees, Known as 'The Silent Pool', 1798–99, watercolour on paper, 26.7 × 40.6 cm, 10 ½ × 16 in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • A Lake Surrounded by Trees, Known as 'The Silent Pool'
1798 - 1799
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper
26.7 × 40.6 cm, 10 ½ × 16 in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour
Subject Terms
Lake Scenery; The Landscape Park; Unidentified Landscape

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
327 as '"The Silent Pool"'; '1799'
Description Source(s)
Girtin Archive Photograph


William George Rawlinson (1840–1928); bought from him by Thos. Agnew & Sons (stock no.9774), 16 June 1920; bought by Sir Stephen Lewis Courtauld (1883–1967), 24 February 1921, £90

Exhibition History

Agnew’s, 1921, no.31 as ’The Silent Pool’; Agnew’s, 1931, no.131


Oppé, 1921, pp.134–35

About this Work

This work is known only from an old black and white photograph, and, though it was included in Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak’s catalogue of the artist’s watercolours, it has not been possible to confirm the attribution to Girtin (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.178). The watercolour’s traditional description, The Silent Pool, is typical of the poetic, connotative titles that Girtin’s unidentified views acquired in the early part of the twentieth century, and I have dropped this as it says rather more about that impoverished period of art history than about the artist’s work. In fact, the presence of what appears to be a sluice on the far bank suggests that we are looking at an artificial lake in a landscape park, rather than a pool far from the haunts of humanity. In the absence of any other evidence, it is impossible to say exactly which of the estates where the artist worked this is; however, if the work is indeed by Girtin, it does at least have the appearance of being based on a sketch made on the spot, rather than being imaginary. Indeed, bearing in mind the dense vegetation surrounding the water, a not unreasonable suggestion for the missing location might be Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, the parkland depicted by Girtin in which a dense array of trees features most prominently (TG1561). My thanks to Ian Warrell for suggesting Chalfont as the possible location here.

(?) 1800

The North Front of Chalfont Lodge, Seen from the Lake


by Greg Smith

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