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Monday, 18 March, 2013

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Lot 140

[Image: illustration 1 of 2 for lot 140]

Lot 140 Description

* Thomas Girtin/The Interior of Exeter Cathedral/signed lower left Girtin/watercolour and bodycolour on paper, 44.5cm x 61cm (17.5" x 24")

Provenance: James Moore, FSA (1762-1799); by descent in the Moore-Miller Collection; Christie's 25th February 1916, lot 65 (bt. Leggatt); Private collection, England

Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1798, no.538 (Inside of Exeter Cathedral); Manchester, Art Treasures Exhibition, 1857, no.74; London, The Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1875, no.44

Literature: Gentleman's Magazine, 1803, vol. LXXIII, p.187; CF Bell, 'Fresh Light on some Water-colour Painters of the Old British School', Walpole Society, vol. V, 1917, pp.76-77; T Girtin and D Loshak, The Art of Thomas Girtin, London 1954, p.208

Note: This watercolour, among the largest in existence by Thomas Girtin, was shown at the Royal Academy in 1798, a fruit of his tour of Devon in 1797. It was bought by the Cheapside linen-draper and keen antiquarian James Moore, one of Girtin's earliest patrons, descending in the Moore-Miller family until sold at Christie's in 1916./From 1791 to 1795 Girtin worked for Moore, translating his pencil drawings of gothic cathedrals and monuments into more sophisticated watercolours. Girtin based his first important Royal Academy watercolour of 1794, Ely Cathedral (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), on a drawing by Moore. The following year he showed at the RA his first independent watercolours of medieval cathedral façades, Peterborough Cathedral and Lichfield Cathedral./The interior of Exeter Cathedral reflects Girtin's interest in the sublimity of gothic architecture, an interest paralleled in contemporaneous watercolours by Turner. The play of light on the intricate interior is achieved by means of broad, translucent watercolour washes in blues, greys and buff, with delicate details added over them in a deeper brown with a fine brush tip. Girtin on his 1797 tour experimented with the use of Chinese white (gouache) highlights, evident here in the sunlit ribs of the nave and the east window. The radical playwright James Holcroft, who met Girtin in Paris in 1802, commented that the artist 'delighted in and had studied the Gothic'. The present watercolour, rare in Girtin's work in showing the interior of a building, invokes both the soaring grace and the monumentality of these testaments to Faith./Our thanks go to Susan Morris for confirming the attribution of the painting and writing the footnote

*Note: This lot is subject to VAT on the hammer price, as well as the buyer's premium

Sold for £8,000

Condition Report or Notes

The paper has gone a little brown and the white shows up more than intended other wise in good condition

Additional Illustrations

Condition reports, photographs and spinning images, which are available to all potential buyers through our website, by telephone and by email, are in every case a service Chorley's is happy to provide. This service is understood to be given to the best of our ability and it should be noted that these reports refer solely to the condition, not the age or attribution, of a lot. They should in no case be considered a replacement for viewing in person or a service for which we accept any liability whatsoever. Condition reports are provided upon request only. The absence of a report does not imply that a lot is without imperfections.

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