CANADIAN PRAIRIE WATERCOLOUR LANDSCAPES

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 THE ENGLISH NOVELTY  

THOMAS GIRTIN, The White House, Chelsea, 1800. Tate Gallery.

THOMAS GIRTIN, b. Feb. 18, 1775, d. Nov. 9, 1802, together with his friend J. M. W. Turner, revolutionized watercolour painting and introduced the romantic style in English landscape painting. (Like Keats and Shelley, he died young.) Colour in broad transparent washes together with precise, exquisite drawing (one can scarcely tell where drawing in pencil ends and drawing with the brush begins) make Girtin one of the greatest masters of watercolour painting. This painting is roughly contemporaneous with Wordsworth's Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, capturing something of the same mood in a different medium.


TERRY FENTON