Lady Gordon is remembered as one of J.M.W.Turner's few known pupils. It was Paul Oppé who first speculated, correctly, that she may also have taken lessons from Thomas Girtin (no.77). For this watercolour she has selected Girtin's favourite paper, a coarse laid cartridge of a warmish tint containing slight flecks which give a subtle variety to the surface. Girtin enjoyed a reputation for making sketches in the open air, a practice he seems to have instilled in his pupils, for this watercolour is described by Lady Gordon on the mount as a 'Sketch from Nature'. The mount also bears her initials, Julia Bennet. Two years later she married General Sir James Willoughby Gordon. The latter was Quartermaster General during the Peninsular Wars.
Gallery label, September 2004