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Cozens would have learned to use oils in Rome in the 1740s when he worked in the studio of the French landscape painter Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789). He was especially interested in the technical aspects of oil painting, being familiar with various recipes for varnishes, as well as one for a light painting-oil containing finely powdered glass to secure quick drying. This is one of twelve oils by him which are known of today. They are mostly small landscape subjects, like this one, which seem to relate to the various treatises he was working on during his career. Alternatively, some of them may have been painted on commission for private clients.

September 2004