Thomas Girtin 1775-1802 "The Banqueting House, Whithall" 1795 after Thomas Malton Coloured engraving. One of a series of five roundels.12.5cm diameter. See information below.
Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) has been credited as one of the founders of English watercolor painting. Raised by his draftsman stepfather, Girtin was apprenticed from 1788 to 1794 to the envious and authoritarian topographical artist Edward Dayes (1763-1804). He made finished paintings from the pencil sketches of other artists or talented amateurs such as John Henderson or James Moore. In 1794 Girtin made a sketching tour of the English Midlands with Moore, exhibited his first painting at the Royal Academy, and began his visits to Dr. Munro's "academy" (a practice he continued until 1797). Sketches made during his tour of Yorkshire and the Scottish border in 1796 became panoramic and picturesque watercolors that launched his career. In 1799 he was a founding member of the Sketching Society, formed to promote the development of historical painting (considered the highest form of painting by academic art theorists); artists in London met in the evening to improvise and then critique monochrome illustrations based on a literary excerpt chosen by the host. Girtin made several more sketching trips throughout England, was active as a drawing master, and took up oil painting in 1800. In 1801 he completed a 360 degree panoramic oil painting of London, the Eidometropolis, apparently intended as a money making venture. He had just finished the soft ground etchings for his Twenty Views of Paris, made during a year long trip to France in 1801-02, when he died in London of asthma at age 27.