Tintern Abbey





Tintern Abbey

Date of Production

(circa) 1792


graphite, brown ink wash and watercolour on wove paper


Height: 15.5 cm
Width: 24 cm

Accession Number


Mode of Acquisition

Dorothy Scharf, bequest, 2007 (March)


The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)


Not currently on display


Label Text

Tintern Abbey was a highlight of the popular tour along the River Wye in the 1790s. This watercolour is a copy made by the seventeen-year old Girtin after a drawing by Edward Dayes, his teacher. Dayes’ influence is apparent from the restricted palette of blue-greys and browns and the ‘tinted’ drawing style — the traditional watercolour technique, whereby light washes are applied over darker tones. Like Dayes, Girtin introduces minute figures to emphasise the massive scale of the ruins that dominate the scene.


J. Walker, 1792; Frederick Huth, by 1886; anonymous sale, Sotheby's (London), 17 February 1954, lot 18; purchased there by Thomas Agnew & Sons (London); W. Cooke; Thomas Agnew & Sons (London), 1985; purchased there by Miss Dorothy Scharf, London (1942-2004) (£9,000); Scharf Bequest 2007

Exhibition History

Tintern Abbey, Chepstow Museum, Chepstow, UK, 24/05/2014-28/09/2014

British Watercolours from the Scharf Bequest, Courtauld Gallery, London, 15/10/2008-01/01/2009

112th Annual Exhibition of Drawings and Watercolours, Agnew's, London, 21/01/1986-22/02/1986


Sites of Inspiration: Tintern Abbey, Chepstow Museum, 2014
no. 22


Watermark: Watermark: Recto, right side: "WHATMAN".

Collector's mark: none.

Inscription: Recto: lower left, light brown ink, signed, the last letter gone over in dark brown ink: "T Girtin". Verso (former backing sheet, now removed, attested to in file): "Tintern Abbey from the River Wye drawn by T. Girtin, in the collection of J. Walker, 1792".

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