Sir Robert Ker Porter
An Ancient Castle c.1799–1800

Artwork details

An Ancient Castle
Date c.1799–1800
Medium Watercolour and graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 209 x 296 mm
Acquisition Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This work, with its air of fantasy and its grey watercolour washes, is immediately recognisable as a product of what is usually known as Girtin's Sketching Club or the Sketching Society. This first met in May 1799 in Porter's studio. At the meetings a literary quotation would be read out and the assembled artists would illustrate it. Ker Porter and his fellow artists, among them Thomas Girtin and Louis Francia, met with 'the purpose of establishing by practice a school of Historical Landscape'. By using dark monochrome washes these artists were looking to achieve 'grandeur of effect' in accordance with the philosopher Edmund Burke's ideas about provoking sublime feelings in the viewer's mind.

September 2004