Wordsworth Museum adds Thomas Girton and Francis Towne works to collection

By Culture24 Reporter | 05 March 2013

When the painter Thomas Girtin died from a respiratory illness in 1802, at the age of 27, JMW Turner said he "should have starved" had his friend and fellow drawing student lived.

An image of a landscape painting of hills and trees around the Lake District area
Thomas Girtin, Lake Windermere and Belle Isle (circa 1792-3). Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on paper© The Wordsworth Trust
Girtin’s works – which include several of the Lake District, despite the fact that he never paid the area a visit – are rarely displayed, so the chance to see one, at the Wordsworth Museum, is unusual.

The Grasmere venue has just bought his 1792 canvas, Lake Windermere and Belle Isle, as one of two acquisitions to be proud of.

An image of an early landscape painting in green and blue of the Lake District area
Francis Towne, Lake of Conisto (1786). Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on two joined sheets of paper© The Wordsworth Trust
The other new arrival is also from the Romantic period: Lake of Coniston was made in 1786 by Francis Towne, a London-born coach painter who was determined to become a successful landscape artist, teaching in Italy before producing 60 watercolours following a productive tour of the north-west.

Towne believed the painting was one of his finest, exhibiting it alongside dozens of others in 1805.

The additions have been funded by the Spooner Charitable Trust, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and an anonymous donor.

  • Find out more about the paintings here.
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