Musée No:737.182Regular price £25.00
St Alban's Cathedral, Hertfordshire
Artist: Thomas Girtin
Date: ca. 1797
Friend and rival of JMW Turner, Girtin (1775 – 1802) was an English watercolourist and etcher who helped to establish watercolour as an art form. He became friends with Turner whilst they were teenagers and employed to colour prints with watercolours. However, unlike Turner, Girtin remained an outsider to the art establishment: he didn’t study at the Academy's schools, and apparently held radical or revolutionary sympathies. His architectural and topographical sketches and drawings established his reputation but in later years he developed a bolder, romantic style, with a lasting influence on English painting. He went on several sketching trips to the north of England, North Wales and the West Country. By 1801 his health was already deteriorating but he spent five and a half months in Paris, where he painted watercolours and made a series the pencil sketches which he engraved on his return to London in 1802. That November, Girtin died in his painting room; the cause given was the mysterious "ossification of the heart." After Girtin’s death Turner reportedly said "Had Tom Girtin lived I should have starved."