John Robert Cozens


after 1782

In Tate Britain

John Robert Cozens 1752–1797
Watercolour on paper
Support: 260 × 371 mm
Presented by the Art Fund (Herbert Powell Bequest) 1967

Display caption

This dramatic work is based upon studies Cozens made during his second trip to Italy. Cozens travelled in the retinue of the young William Beckford. They arrived in Padua on 18 June 1782, where Cozens made a sketch of a thunderstorm, which he used as the basis for this work. In his Italian travel journal, Beckford wrote, after a visit to the church of Santa Giustina in Padua, that ‘a peal of thunder reverberated through the vaults and cupolas, as I expected would have shaken them to their foundations. The principal dome appeared invested with a sheet of fire’.

Gallery label, April 2007

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Catalogue entry

John Robert Cozens 1752–1797

T00983 Padua after 1782

Not inscribed. Mark of Sir Charles Robinson b.r.
Watercolour, 10¼ x 14¿ (26 x 37.2).
Presented by the National Art-Collections Fund from the Herbert Powell Bequest 1967.
Coll: William Beckford, sold Christie’s, 10 April 1805 (58), bt. Hearne; ...; Sir Charles Robinson, sold Sotheby’s, 24 February 1914 (75); Herbert Powell by 1922; entrusted by him to the N.A.-C.F. 1929.
Exh: B.F.A.C., 1922–3 (12); British Art, R.A., 1934 (699; Commemorative Catalogue, 1935, no. 674); see also under Atkins T00964.
Lit: C F Bell and T Girtin, ‘The Drawings and Sketches of John Robert Cozens’, in Walpole Society, XXIII, 1935, p. 53, no. 214; Martin Hardie, Water-colour Painting in Britain, I, 1966, p. 141, repr. pl. 111.

Based on the drawing in the Beckford sketchbook, i, 20, which is dated ‘June 18’ 1782.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1967–1968, London 1968.

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