Windermere and Belle Isle

Windermere and Belle Isle



Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
View of Windermere and Belle Isle

With a collector's mark lower left and inscribed in another hand verso: Windermere Lake/Girtin
Pen and grey ink and watercolour over pencil
35.3 by 48.7 cm., 13 ¾ by 19 in.

With Walker's Galleries, London;
With Thos. Agnew and Sons, London (no. 32063);
L.G. Duke (D3816);
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, 5
th March 1970, lot 83;
Theodore Besterman, his sale, Christie's, 14
th December 1971, lot52;
Anonymous sale, Christie's, 8
th June 2000, lot 141;
By descent to the present owner

This rare early work by Girtin dates from circa 1792, when he was under the tuition of Edward Dayes (1763-1804). It is likely to be a copy of a watercolour by Dayes or John `Warwick' Smith as Girtin never visited the Lake District. Girtin was apprenticed to Dayes from 1789 and as a young artist he would have been expected to copy his master's work as part of the learning process. Dayes is known to have visited the Lakes in 1789 and he exhibited a number of Lakeland subjects in the following few years. Views of Windermere by Dayes from different angles are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Aberdeen Art Gallery. Two comparable views by Girtin from this period, of almost identical size, are in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (see Greg Smith,
Thomas Girtin: The Art of Watercolour, 2002, nos. 21 and 22, ill.).

We are grateful to Susan Morris for her help in cataloguing this watercolour.