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Object number


Object type



Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire – Evening

Title Type

assigned by cataloguer


Related works by Girtin are in the collections of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and Leeds City Art Gallery.

Other number

Pi 84


Content (note)

'When Girtin made his first trip to Yorkshire, in 1799, Bolton Abbey was already established as one of the high points in any picturesque tour of the country. Girtin drew the ruin on the banks of the River Wharfe from three different angles. In addition, he noted against the stub of a sheet removed from his book of studies that another view. ‘coloured on the spot’ was sold to a Mr Rogers for eight guineas. In the Eton watercolour the abbey is viewed from across the river. These details, together with the reclining shepherd, strengthen a sense no longer present, and the building is half submerged in trees. These details, together with the reclining shepherd, strengthen a sense of isolation, which may not have been entirely in accord with the present-day reality of the place as a tourist destination, but were in harmony with eighteenth-century ideas of the countryside as a place of retirement and contemplation.
There are more extended, horizontal versions of the composition in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and Leeds City Art Gallery.'

[Source: Wilcox, T., 'A Genius for Watercolour: Watercolours from the Eton College Collection', Christie's, London, 2003, p.46, catalogue number 38]


height (actual size): 361mm
width (actual size): 323mm

Materials & techniques note

Pencil and watercolour



History and association

Object history note

Exhibited: 'Watercolours from the Eton College Collections', Verey Gallery, Eton College, 24 November 2018 to 24 February 2019

Previous ownership

Pilkington, Alan, 1879 - 1973: Given to Eton by Alan Pilkington, 1969; at Eton from 1963
Poulter, E: With Agnew's 1953
Cohen, Edward


• Ryan, H., Hidden Treasures, W.S. Fine Art exhibition catalogue, 2010 (p. 46, no. 18)
• Wilcox, T., A Genius for Watercolour; Watercolours from the Eton College Collection, Christie's exhibition catalogue, London, 2003 (p. 46, no. 38)
• Hill, D., Thomas Girtin, Genius in the North, 1999 (Under no. 16, p. 32, note 16)
• Van Oss, O., 'English Water-colours at Eton: the Pilkington Collection', Apollo, LXXXIII, March 1966 (p. 202, fig 1)
• Pilkington, A., Loan exhibition of early English watercolours, drawings by Old Masters, etchings & engravings from the collection of Alan D. Pilkington: in aid of the Distressed Gentlefolk's Aid Association, Colnaghi & Co, London, 1958 (no. 42)
• Girtin, T. & Loshak, D., The Art of Thomas Girtin, London, 1954 (p. 185, no. 376 (B) iii)
• Loan exhibition of water-colour drawings by Thomas Girtin: in aid of the National Art-Collections Fund, which celebrates its Fiftieth Anniversary in 1953, Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1953 (no. 8)
• Burlington Fine Arts Club, Exhibition of the works of Thomas Girtin, London, 1875
image 78363
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