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Works Thomas Girtin and Joseph Mallord William Turner after John Robert Cozens

A Narrow Gorge on the River Linth, near the Pantenbrücke

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0483: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) after John Robert Cozens (1752–97), A Narrow Gorge on the River Linth, near the Pantenbrücke, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an early mount, 24.4 × 18.2 cm, 9 ⅝ × 7 ⅛ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXIV, 8 (D36485).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • A Narrow Gorge on the River Linth, near the Pantenbrücke
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an early mount
24.4 × 18.2 cm, 9 ⅝ × 7 ⅛ in
Mount Dimensions
36.8 × 48 cm, 14 ½ × 18 ⅞ in

‘Near the Pantin Bruck in the Canton of Glarus’ on the mount, lower right, in a later hand (presumably transcribing Girtin's no longer visible inscription)

Part of
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Swiss View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in November 2017


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 28 June 1833, lot 79 as 'Twenty-six sketches in Switzerland and Italy, by Turner, in blue and Indian ink, in a scrap-book'; bought by Thomas Griffith for Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), £10 10s; accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856


Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1231 as 'Near the Pantin Bruck, in the Canton of Glarus' by Thomas Girtin; Bell and Girtin, 1935, p.34; Shanes, 2016a, p.98 as by Thomas Girtin and Joseph Mallord William Turner; Turner Online as 'Near the Pantenbrücke in the Canton of Glarus' by Joseph Mallord William Turner and Thomas Girtin (Accessed 06/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of a narrow gorge on the river Linth is mounted in an album of watercolours that was bought by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) at the posthumous sale of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 28 June 1833, lot 79). The twenty-six drawings were the outcome of a unique collaboration between Girtin and Turner working together at Monro’s London home at the Adelphi. Here the artists were employed across three winters, probably between 1794 and 1797, to make ‘finished drawings’ from the ‘Copies’ of the ‘outlines or unfinished drawings of Cozens’ and other artists, amateur and professional, either from Monro’s collection or lent for the purpose. As the two young artists later recalled, Girtin generally ‘drew in outlines and Turner washed in the effects’. ‘They went at 6 and staid till Ten’, which may account for the generally monochrome appearance of the works, and, as the diarist Joseph Farington (1747–1821) reported, Turner received ‘3s. 6d each night’, though ‘Girtin did not say what He had’ (Farington, Diary, 12 November 1798).1

Upon the Linth, near the Panten-Brücke, in the Canton of Glarus

This view of a rocky gorge was copied from a composition by John Robert Cozens (1752–97) that he probably executed for Richard Payne Knight (1751–1824) in 1776 (see figure 1; Bell and Girtin, 1935, no.40). It is highly unlikely that Monro had access to Cozens’ finished watercolours, and the work was presumably copied either from an on-the-spot drawing made in September 1776 or from one of the tracings the artist was in the habit of producing from his own compositions. Cozens’ sketches from 1776 have not survived, but they were probably little more than summary outlines, and that would explain why the Monro School copy is roughly the same size as the Cozens watercolour but differs radically in the distribution of light across the composition, which would have been a matter of interpretation for an artist working from a simple drawing. This is most evident in the vegetation on the left and right, and particularly on the walls of the gorge in the foreground, which are no longer two solid dark masses but are broken up, with a consequent loss of dramatic impact. In all, there are as many as sixty Monro School views of the Alpine scenery of France, Switzerland and northern Italy that can, with varying degrees of certainty, be associated with Cozens’ first trip to the Continent in 1776. Those that were mounted by Monro in one of his albums, as here, are noticeably smaller, forming a distinct group.

Establishing the division of labour within a Monro School drawing is considerably helped, as here, when the colour washes leave much of the pencil work showing through. Although the nature of the subject did not require detailed work, Girtin’s hand is apparent under Turner’s economical use of a simple palette of greys and blues. Girtin’s employment at Monro’s house may have been a mechanical chore, but in the longer term it provided a repertoire of compositions that equipped him to depict sublime scenery such as The Ogwen Falls (TG1330), whilst it prepared Turner for his first trip to the Continent, where in 1802 he was able to sketch similar Alpine views.

1798 - 1799

The Ogwen Falls


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


  1. 1 The full diary entry, giving crucial details of the artists’ work at Monro’s house, is transcribed in the Documents section of the Archive (1798 – Item 2).

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