For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works James Moore and (?) Thomas Girtin

Beauchief Abbey

(?) 1789

Primary Image: TG0011: James Moore (1762–99) and (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Beauchief Abbey, (?) 1789, graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on laid paper, 20.8 × 33.3 cm, 8 ³⁄₁₆ × 13 ⅛ in. Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA1916.20.45).

Photo courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (All Rights Reserved)

James Moore (1762-1799) and (?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Beauchief Abbey
(?) 1789
Medium and Support
Graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on laid paper
20.8 × 33.3 cm, 8 ³⁄₁₆ × 13 ⅛ in

‘BEAUCHIEF or BECHIEF ABBEY between Dronfield & Sheffield’ lower centre, by James Moore

Object Type
On-the-spot Colour Sketch
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; Yorkshire View

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
107 as by James Moore and Thomas Girtin and 'Partly finished'; '1793–5'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2016 and 2020


James Moore (1762–99); his widow, Mary Moore (née Howett) (d.1835); bequeathed to Anne Miller (1802–90); bequeathed to Edward Mansel Miller (1829–1912); bequeathed to Helen Louisa Miller (1842–1915); bought and presented anonymously, 1916


Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.57; Brown, 1982, p.474, no.1433

About this Work

Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak argued that this drawing by Girtin’s first patron, the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99), was also worked on by the young artist. They suggested that the ‘disciplined trees on the right are clearly by Girtin, while the church, with its ludicrous perspective, reveals the bungling hand of Moore’ (Girtin and Loshak, 1954, p.57). The colouring of the trees is indeed superior to the washes applied to the building, but not so much that the name of Girtin immediately springs to mind. In contrast to the more than a dozen pencil drawings by Moore that do appear to have been enhanced by Girtin’s superior touch, such as St Peter’s Church, Bexhill: The West Tower (TG0326), the case here for the professional artist’s intervention is not so compelling. On balance, therefore, it would seem that Moore took a pencil drawing that he had presumably made on his trip to Yorkshire in September 1789 and added some washes to it. This may have been at a later date when he was inspired by Girtin’s work to attempt something a little more sophisticated in the way of colouring, similarly to what he assayed in a view of Kirkstall, for example (see source image TG0147).

Moore was nothing if not an assiduous recorder of the nation’s monastic ruins, travelling in this case to what is now a suburb of Sheffield to sketch the easily overlooked remains of Beauchief Abbey. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the west tower of the abbey church and part of the nave were appropriated by the owner of Beauchief Hall to create a family chapel dedicated to St Thomas a Becket, and the nave was rebuilt around 1662. What we see in Moore’s view is therefore just a small part of the original abbey, with the main area of the ruins hidden behind the trees to the right.

(?) 1795

St Peter’s Church, Bexhill: The West Tower


1792 - 1793

Kirkstall Abbey, from the South East


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.