Thomas Girtin

Thomas Girtin (1775–1802)
View of Appledore, North Devon, from Instow Sands
c. 1798 (or 1800?)
Brown ink and watercolor with touches of gouache over graphite, on coarse wrapping paper
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Witt Bequest, 1952

Taking full advantage of the translucence of watercolor, Girtin builds up the design in distinct layers, allowing each stage of the composition's development to remain visible. Girtin's approach flouted contemporary academic practice, which encouraged artists to disguise all evidence of their labor. The coarse paper imparts a grainy texture to this beach scene.