LONDON.- A museum employee poses in front of The White House at Chelsea from 1800 by Thomas Girtin (L) and The Blue Rigi, Sunrise from 1842 by J.M.W. Turner during a preview for Tate Britain exhibition entitled Watercolour in London. The exhibition, which features watercolour painting from the middle ages through to the present day, runs February 16 – August 21, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett.
Thomas Girtin 1775-1802
The White House at Chelsea 1800
Watercolour on paper
support: 298 x 514 mm
on paper, unique
Bequeathed by Mrs Ada Montefiore 1933
This, Girtin’s most celebrated work, was much admired by Turner. According to an anecdote, ‘A dealer went one day to Turner, and after looking round at all his drawings in the room, had the audacity to say, I have a drawing out there in my hackney coach, finer than any of yours. Turner bit his lip, looked first angry, then meditative. At length he broke silence: Then I tell you what it is. You have got Tom Girtin‘s White House at Chelsea’. The focus of the watercolour, the white house itself, is created by leaving the papermore or less unpainted. The windmill at the left was known as Red House Mill. Beyond it is the horizontal windmill at Battersea and towards the right Chelsea Parish Church.
(From the display caption September 2004)