Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland

Artist: Thomas Girtin (British, London 1775–1802 London)

Date: 1796–97

Medium: Watercolor

Dimensions: Sheet: 15 in. × 20 1/2 in. (38.1 × 52 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1906

Accession Number: 06.1051.1


Viewed from below, its base obscured by cold mist, Lindisfarne Castle looms against the blue sky. Girtin visited Northumberland in the autumn of 1796, but his staggering depiction of the modest sixteenth-century ruin owes more to imagination than topography: the real rock rises only ninety feet above the shore. Girtin's evocative, monumental forms recall the work of J. R. Cozens (1752–1797), whose sketches he was employed in copying at this time; his bold color, massive forms, and wild mood proclaim a new, Romantic vision.