Softground etching and aquatint printed in brown, hand-colored with watercolor
Support: Wove paper
Sheet: 45.3 x 63.2 cm (17 13/16 x 24 7/8 in.); Platemark: 22.7 x 54.5 cm (8 15/16 x 21 7/16 in.)
Gift of John Bonebrake 2006.226
Catalogue raisonné: Abbey 102, 15b with letters
Girtin, along with his rival J. M. W. Turner, extended the technical possibilities of watercolor and in doing so demonstrated that watercolors could have the visual impact of oils. His reduction of landscape to simple and monumental forms, his panoramic compositions, and his sensitivity to natural effects, such as cloud formations, influenced subsequent generations of watercolor painters. Anxious to take advantage of the Peace of Amiens (October 1, 1801), Girtin went to Paris to see the artistic treasures brought back from Italy by Napoleon and installed in the Louvre. He made graphite sketches of the city and its environs and upon his return to London made etchings based on his drawings. Girtin died of tuberculosis shortly thereafter, and the series was published by his widow and brother.
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