Alexander Cozens
The Cloud c.1770

Artwork details

Alexander Cozens 1717–1786
The Cloud
Date c.1770
Medium Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 233 x 313 mm
Acquisition Purchased for the Tate Gallery by the Art Fund, as part of the Oppé Collection 1996
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This study is almost certainly related to a treatise Cozens was working on in the late 1760s and early 1770s, 'The Various Species of Composition of Landscape, in Nature'. This treatise was apparently never published in full, but it seems to have been a very complicated system indeed. The landscapes, made up from a selection of sixteen 'compositions', fourteen 'objects' and twenty-seven 'circumstances', were intended to arouse specific emotions on those who viewed them, and to have a positive moral effect. 'The Cloud' probably corresponds with circumstance no.7, 'setting-sun'. 'In no other drawing', wrote Paul Oppé, 'does Cozens reach to quite this degree of controlled but burning emotion'.

September 2004