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Thomas Girtin, British, 1775–1802
Wetherby Bridge and Mills, Yorkshire, looking across the weir
c. 1800
Watercolor over graphite on laid paper
Image/Sheet: 12 1/2 × 20 1/2 in. (31.8 × 52.1 cm)
Credit Line

The Stuart Collection, museum purchase funded by Francita Stuart Koelsch Ulmer in memory of Bonner Means Baker Moffitt

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
Drawings, Pastels & Watercolors

Francis W. Keen; A.T. Keen [1]; C.A. Keen; [Keen sale, Sotheby’s, London, April 20, 1972, lot 57]; Edward Fremangle, 1984; Robert Tear [2], acquired 1984, to 2011; and by descent, 2014; [Old Master & British Drawings sale, Sotheby’s, London, July 9, 2014, lot 188]; [Lowell Libson, Ltd.], 2014-2016; to MFAH, 2016. [1] The present watercolor was first recorded in the collection of Francis W. Keen, a director of Guest, Keen & Nettlefold, who was a significant collector of British watercolors and also owned Girtin’s Morpeth Bridge now in the Laing Art Gallery. Arthur T. Keen (1861-1918) was a major industrialist – the son of Arthur Keen and the chairman of GKN the major engineering company founded by his father. He was also an important collector of English watercolours, he also owned Girtin’s Morpeth Bridge now in the Laing Art Gallery. [2] Robert Tear (1939 – 2011) was a Welsh tenor singer, teacher and conductor. He first became known singing in the operas of Benjamin Britten in the mid-1960s. From the 1970s until his retirement in 1999 his main operatic base was the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; he appeared with other opera companies in the UK, mainland Europe, the US and Australia. Tear's concert repertoire was wide, extending from music from the 17th century to contemporary works by Britten, Tippett and others. He conducted for some years from the mid-1980s, but found himself temperamentally unsuited it. As a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music he was happier, and was well regarded by colleagues and pupils. Tear’s range and musical sympathies were enormously broad and during his long career (his stage debut was in 1966 and he retired in 2009 after singing the Emperor in Puccini's Turandot)) he sang or recorded roles in operas by Berg (he sang the painter in the Friedrich Cerha completion of Lulu under Boulez), Delius, Donizetti, Henze, Janácek, Messiaen, Mozart, Offenbach, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky (Lensky was the role of his Covent Garden debut in 1970) and Wagner. From 1992-94 he was artistic director of the Vocal Faculty of the London Royal Schools of Music and at the time of his death was a visiting professor of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music. He is an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and in 1984 was awarded the CBE. In 1995 he published a hugely entertaining autobiography, Singer Beware: A Cautionary Story of the Singing Class, a book which beautifully conveys his talents as a raconteur and wit. Robert Tear was a major collector of fine English watercolours, with works by J. R. Cozens, Samuel Palmer and in particular, the visionary William Blake.