- Museum number
Gordale Scar; waterfall flowing through rocks in centre between narrow gorge to the foreground. 1801
Watercolour with graphite
- Production date
- 1801 (circa)
Height: 137 millimetres
Width: 194 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- By 1800, when Girtin made this sketch, Gordale Scar was widely regarded as one of the most impressive natural features in the whole of the British landscape. The towering cliff, over which tumbles a tributary of the River Aire, was an outstanding example of the sublime. Girtin's former teacher Edward Dayes, visiting in 1802, described it, in what had become an overworked cliché, as combining 'immensity and horror' ('The works of the late Edward Dayes', 1805, p. 64).
Little of this overwhelming vastness is apparent in Girtin's study, which concentrates on the stream bed at the very base of the cliff. Only the loose and rough pencil underdrawing and the rather disjointed application of paint in groups of slanting brushstrokes give any indication of the forceful emotions usually associated with the scene.
The sketch is executed on a white wove paper of unidentified origin, probably not English. It is the same as that used for the study 'Stepping stones on the Wharf' (1855-2-14-10) made only a few miles away to the south-east.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1973 London, Tate Gallery, 'Landscape in Britain c.1750-1850', no.188
1975 Jan-Feb, Manchester, Whitworth AG, 'Watercolours by Thomas Girtin', no.91
1975 Mar-Apr, London, V&A, 'Watercolours by Thomas Girtin', no.91
1977 Jun-Sep, Norwich, Castle Museum, 'John Thirtle', no. L43
1978 Mar-Apr, London, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 'John Thirtle', no. L43
1978 May-Jun, Nottingham Uni AG, 'John Thirtle', no. L43
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860, no.80a
1997 Aug-Nov, Lincoln, Usher Gall., 'The Poetry of Place'
1999 Mar-Jun, Leeds, Harewood House, 'Thomas Girtin', no.37
2002 July-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Thomas Girtin and the Art of Watercolour', no.126
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- See note on 1855-2-14-2
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number