Alexander Cozens and a pupil

A Blot, Based on New Method, Plate 10. Verso: A Clumsier Blot

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Alexander Cozens 1717–1786 and a pupil
Ink on paper. Verso: ink on paper
Support: 480 x 382 mm
frame (Imperial): 725 x 550 x 25 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

Cozens published a drawing manual called A New Method of Assisting the Invention... of Landscape in 1786, which demonstrated one of his schemes for inventing landscape compositions. He recommended the use of the chance associations which semi-randomly applied 'blots' of ink would produce in the mind to create new compositions. When making a blot, Cozens wrote, 'you must first possess your mind strongly with the subject'. Here Cozens or a pupil has used a large brush loaded with dense black ink, working quickly to lay down the main forms, and using overlapping dabs of ink to complete the image.

Gallery label, August 2004