John Robert Cozens

Download image: 
John Robert Cozens
View from Mirabella in the Euganean Hills near Padua.
Watercolor over graphite on paper.
10 1/16 x 14 3/4 inches (256 x 374 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund 1978, 2003.

Watermark: none visible through lining.
In 1782-83 Cozens made his second sojourn in Italy, traveling with the young eccentric William Beckford. The artist filled seven sketchbooks on his tour, most annotated with the place and date of execution. On 19 June 1782 he made five sketches in the Euganean Hills, a picturesque region in the Veneto southwest of Padua. One of the sketches (Beckford Sketchbooks, i, 23) was preparatory for the present drawing, Cozens's only known depiction of this composition. A related drawing, "From Mirabella, the Villa of Count Algarotti on the Euganean Hills, Ten Miles from Padua", was in the Beckford sale and is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Bell and Girtin, no. 216, repr.). The von Bulow drawing depicts a view from Mirabella, the villa of Count Francesco Algarotti (1712-1764), connoisseur and collector of drawings, of which several by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo are in the Morgan Library. In the middle distance at left is the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria di Praglia with its Romanesque bell tower. The plume of vapor depicted in the drawing may represent a fumerole, a hole in the earth's surface from which hot gases and vapors are emitted. The Euganean Hills are volcanic in origin, and the region's many hot springs have made it a popular tourist destination since at least the eighteenth century. In a letter to Lady Hamilton dated 19 June 1782, William Beckford described the view from Mirabella that Cozens's drawing so poetically records: "Evening drawing on, and the breeze blowing fresh from the Adriatic, I reclined on a slope, and turned my eyes anxiously towards Venice; then upon some little fields hemmed in by chestnuts ... and from thence, to a mountain, crowned by a circular grove of fir and cypress ..."


Inscribed on back of lining in graphite at lower right, "Near Mirabello / in the Neighborhood of Padua", at lower right corner, "3".

Henry Harris, Esq., London, 1921 (according to Agnew's, London, files); Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1937 (their label on frame backing, inventory number 8955); through whom acquired by Norman D. Newall, Esq., Newbrough, Northumberland (1888-1952), 1937; his sale, Christie's, London, 13 December 1979, lot 24, repr.; from which acquired by Ian Woodner (1903-1990), New York (his label on frame backing, inventory number WWA-88); his sale, Christie's, London, 9 July 1991, lot 89, repr.; private collection, U.K.; Andrew Clayton-Payne Ltd., London; from whom acquired by the Morgan Library.

C. F. Bell and T. Girtin, "The Drawings and Sketches of John Robert Cozens," The Walpole Society, vol. 23, 1935, no. 217; Catalogue of Seven Sketch-books by John Robert Cozens, sale cat., intro. A. Blunt, London, Sotheby's, November 29, 1973, under lot 23.

Artist page: