Alexander Cozens
Plate 1 c.1785

Artwork details

Alexander Cozens 1717–1786
Date c.1785
Medium Aquatint on paper
Dimensions Image: 240 x 314 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1980
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Cozens was a drawing master of a very unusual kind. Rather than have pupils copy his own work (the usual method), he encouraged originality through a method of 'blotting': pupils used brush and ink to make rapid, semi-random blots which could then be elaborated into more recognisable landscapes. Cozens taught this method as early as the 1750s and published it around 1785 in his treatise 'A New Method ...'. This was illustrated with eighteen aquatinted blots, some of which are shown here. Other illustrations demonstrated different ways of developing two of them, while help with adding skies was provided by a series of small engravings of schematic sky compositions.

September 2004

About this artwork