Alexander Cozens

A Blot: Tigers


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Alexander Cozens 1717–1786
Watercolour on paper
Support: 197 × 280 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

Cozens described his 'blot' technique as a way of making

varied spots and shapes with ink on paper, producing accidental forms without lines, from which ideas are entered to the mind. To sketch is to delineate lines; blotting suggests them.

Here Cozens has initially laid down a broad grey wash. He then used his imagination whilst looking at the outline shapes; these suggested animals to him, which he brought to life by drawing broad brush lines in black ink over the grey wash. Most of Cozens's 'blots' were turned into landscapes; animal drawings such as this are rare.

Gallery label, August 2004

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