Tom Girtin Drawing
This is a pencil drawing by Tom Girtin of Malmesbury Market Cross. It is drawn from Gloucester Street looking eastwards and shows as well as the Market Cross the projecting fronts of the houses on the south side of Gloucester Street. Girtin visited Malmesbury twice, in 1791 and 1797.
The drawing was purchased by FOAM in 1982 with the assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Beecroft Bequest and North Wiltshire District Council and Malmesbury Town Council.
Thomas Girtin was born on 18th February 1775 the son of a Huguenot brushmaker. He was apprenticed to Edward Dayes a topographical watercolourist. He was then employed to colour prints, as was J.M.W.Turner. The two boys were friends and went on painting tours round the country. Girtin exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1794. He has been credited with founding the school of Romantic watercolour painting.
Girtin died of consumption on 9th November 1802 at the age of 27. Turner is quoted as saying ‘had Tom Girtin lived, I should have starved ‘ – a lovely tribute.