Alexander Cozens

In the Farnese Gardens, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Alexander Cozens 1717–1786
Pen and watercolour on paper
Support: 245 × 390 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

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Alexander Cozens is best known for the treatises he wrote in which he attempted to categorise landscape types. His most famous is 'A New Method of Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape'(1786), where he explained how to create imaginary landscapes by using ink blots. Paul Oppé wrote extensively about Cozens's theoretical approach to landscape, helping to elucidate his complex systems.
Cozens spent two years in Italy in the 1740s. Nearly sixty watercolours and drawings have survived from his stay in Rome, as well as a sketchbook. This drawing, although depicting a specific location in the Farnese Gardens, is reminiscent of the work of the classical masters of landscape, such as Gaspard Dughet.

Gallery label, September 2004

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