These two watercolours, which had previously been sold as by J.M.W. Turner, have now been reattributed to Thomas Girtin. Both of these two drawings relate to the group of works in the collection of the British Museum (TB CCCLXXIX), the attribution of which is discussed in detail in the article by A. Wilton, 'The 'Monro School' Question: Some Answers', Turner Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 11-14. In particular it is useful to compare the works to op.cit., fig. 5, which is approximately the same size and the figures and cart appear to be executed in a similar manner. Also belonging to the same group is a view of Lancaster (TB CCCLXXIX no. 16), which is also attributed to Girtin and measures 7.9 x 12.2 cm., which depicts Lancaster from the other side of the bridge.
Andrew Wilton, loc.cit. states that both Turner and Girtin were possibly employed in making a long series of small watercolours in about 1797, perhaps for a publication in a projected topographical work possibly for Dr Thomas Monro, especially since very many of them were included in the Monro sale at Christie's in 1833.
Stylistically the drawings belong to a period in which the influence of Edward Dayes (1763-1804), to whom Girtin was apprenticed can be detected. The pencil work is more robust than is usual with the work of Dayes. There is a version of the view of Appleby in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, which is attributed to Dayes and it is possible that Girtin used this as the prototype for the present watercolour as he did not travel to the North of England until 1796. The attribution of the view of Appleby to Girtin is strengthened by an engraving of the subject by S. Walker, published in 1799 that states that is from an original drawing by Girtin.
We are grateful to Andrew Wilton and Susan Morris for their help in preparing this catalogue entry.