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Works (?) Thomas Girtin

Unidentified Coastal Village, Said to Be Clovelly


Primary Image: TG0017: (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), Unidentified Coastal Village, Said to Be Clovelly, 1791, watercolour on paper. Private Collection, Sussex.

Photo courtesy of Private Collection (All Rights Reserved)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Unidentified Coastal Village, Said to Be Clovelly
Medium and Support
Watercolour on paper

'T. Girtin 1791' lower left, by (?) Thomas Girtin

Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work from a Known Source: Contemporary British
Subject Terms
Coasts and Shipping

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Witt Library Photograph


Ila Boda, Chichester, 1976

About this Work

This watercolour is known only from a poor-quality photograph in the Witt Library, London, where it is titled Clovelly, Devon? and tentatively attributed to Girtin. The work itself is also poor in quality and less advanced stylistically than the other watercolours dated to 1791 (such as TG0015), the second year of Girtin’s apprenticeship to Edward Dayes (1763–1804). However, the signature and date are consistent with other examples from this period (including TG0014), and it is possible that it is an early copy after the work of another artist as it would not have been possible for the young apprentice to travel to the coast. The most obvious candidate would be Girtin’s master, but there is nothing comparable in Dayes’ sizeable output and he is not known to have visited north Devon, and in any case, the coastal village shown here does not resemble Clovelly, a location that was rarely visited at this date. Given that, in addition, there are few obvious or evident stylistic debts to Dayes, the attribution to Girtin must remain uncertain, though why anyone would think of adding a signature and early date to such an uncharacteristic work is unclear.

Much the same might be said about a work titled Figures in a Landscape, which was said to be signed ‘T. Girtin 1790’ on the back. The watercolour appeared in an online auction, but it was apparently not illustrated and it has not been possible to confirm the attribution to Girtin (sold at Sloan’s, 20 July 2002).


Rochester, from the River Medway



London: Interior of St Stephen Walbrook, Looking East


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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