(b London, 6 Aug. 1763; d London, May 1804). English painter (mainly in watercolour), draughtsman, and printmaker. He is best known for his topographical watercolours and drawings, which are in a meticulous manner that he upheld against the ‘new and more dashing style’ that was coming to the fore. His traditional outlook is expressed in his treatise Instructions for Drawing and Colouring Landscapes, which appeared in his posthumously published Works in 1805; this volume also includes an attack on the ‘wild effusions of the perturbed imaginations’ of Fuseli. Girtin was a pupil of Dayes, who is said to have resented his success and contrived to have him imprisoned. There is no documentary evidence for this story, but Dayes certainly became an embittered man and he committed suicide.
From The Oxford Dictionary of Art in Oxford Reference.