Dryburgh Abbey and the River Tweed, Roxburghshire
signed 'Girtin' (lower left)
pencil and watercolour on oatmeal paper
15 5/8 x 12 7/8 in. (39.7 x 32.8 cm.)
Artist or Maker
Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
New York, Davis & Long, British Drawings 1760-1925, 2 - 31 May 1985, no. 18.
Dr. Thomas Calvert Girtin, the artist's son and by descent to
Mrs Barnard and by descent to Professor Francis Pierrepont Barnard (reframed by him in 1886).
B. de le Bullock; Sotheby's, London, 20 July 1978, lot 171, sold £500. with Davis & Long, New York, where purchased for the present collection.
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In the summer of 1796 Girtin undertook his first independent tour, travelling to Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Girtin executed two pencil drawings of this subject in 1796 and 1797 depicting the gabled end with the Rose window and the ruins of the East end and great window. (see Girtin and Loshak, The Art of Thomas Girtin, London, 1954, nos. 168 and 193). From these sketches he made a large number of finished watercolours, ten of which were shown at the Royal Academy the following year. It has been suggested that the present watercolour may have been executed on the artist's second trip to Scotland in 1801.
Dryburgh Abbey is a monastery belonging to the canons of the Premonstratensian Order (Norbertine or White Canons), situated four miles south-east of Melrose, Scotland. It was founded about 1150 by Hugo de Morville, Constable of Scotland, who brought a community from Alnwick in Northumberland. The general style of the existing remains of Dryburgh is Early English, with some older (Norman) work. Of the church only the western gable, the ends of the transept, and part of the choir remain; but considerable portions of the convent buildings have been preserved, including the refectory, with a beautiful rose window. It contains the tomb of Sir Walter Scott, in St. Mary's Aisle. Sir Walter's maternal ancestors, the Haliburtons, at one time owned Dryburgh. Scott's wife and eldest son are also interred here.
We are grateful to Greg Smith for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.
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