(13) DeWint was evidently not the first to be entranced by this view; he could even have been acquainted with Dayes' account, but whether it had any bearing on the watercolour is, at best, doubtful.
He walked along Wensleydale on 29 July, and noted the angular profile of the castle against the wide expanse of the valley from a viewpoint not so different to DeWint's, but the drawing was not used for any later work.
DeWint had even shown an oil of Bolton Castle at the Royal Academy in 1820, but this is now lost.
2), with the town in the centre, is finished off with two rather stagey trees to the right; their squarish dabs of foliage are typical of DeWint's final decade and this wonderfully atmospheric study, probably largely executed on the spot, may also date from 1839.
As DeWint's wife observed, the artist returned to certain favourite regions on a regular basis, making the establishing of chronology on the basis of style at best an inexact science.
Although DeWint retained a profound debt to Girtin throughout his career, this study can hardly be much later than the 1816 sketchbook and could well date from 1810 or before.
Since then, the watercolour has languished in a sort of limbo, rejected by Girtin scholars, but not recognised as the seminal early DeWint it undoubtedly is.
As DeWint's career advanced, his freely painted studies from nature came to be made as often for their own sake as with some specific future project in mind.
The overt acknowledgement of such rural tensions is highly unusual in itself, but it is not at all apparent on whose side DeWint's sympathies lay; could not the sight of a squire reliving military glory at the expense of his peasantry be just as inimical to the artist as the women's petty criminality?
Given his widow's stress on DeWint's religious faith (as reported in her Memoir of the artist, here reprinted in full), the image perhaps encapsulates DeWint's ideal world order.
Since in addition the quality of reproduction is in many instances little short of tragic, the book makes almost no contribution to the understanding of DeWint's stylistic development.
DeWint arrived in London in 1802, the year of Thomas Girtin's death.