For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works Thomas Girtin and Joseph Mallord William Turner after (?) John Robert Cozens

Albano: A Mausoleum, Known as the Tomb of the Horatii and Curatii

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0614: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752–97), Albano: A Mausoleum, Known as the Tomb of the Horatii and Curatii, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an early mount, 19.7 × 26.9 cm, 7 ¾ × 10 ⅝ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII, 7 (D36420).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • Albano: A Mausoleum, Known as the Tomb of the Horatii and Curatii
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper, on an early mount
19.7 × 26.9 cm, 7 ¾ × 10 ⅝ in
Mount Dimensions
36.3 × 49.5 cm, 14 ¼ × 19 ½ in

‘Tomb of the Horatii & Curatii’ on the back, by Thomas Girtin (pasted down, but transcribed by a later hand on the lower right of the mount)

Part of
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Italian View: Ancient Ruins; Italian View: The Roman Campagna

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in November 2017


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, Christie's, 28 June 1833, lot 78 as ‘A book containing 62 interesting sketches in the neighbourhood of Rome and Naples, by Turner, in Indian ink and blue’; bought by Thomas Griffith on behalf of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), £21; accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856


Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1227 as '"Tomb of the Horatii & Curatii"' by Thomas Girtin; Turner Online as 'The Tomb of the Horatii and Curatii' by Joseph Mallord William Turner and Thomas Girtin (Accessed 07/09/2022)

About this Work

This view, one of two watercolours of the well-known ruined mausoleum on the Via Appia near Albano (the other being TG0615), is mounted in an album of watercolours 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 78). The sixty-four 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

The Tomb of the Horatii and Curatii

As with the majority of the views of the Roman Campagna completed at Monro’s home, it has not been possible to trace the precise source of this view of the famous monument that was popularly associated with the legendary sets of brothers, the Horatii and Curiatii, heroes of the earliest days of the Roman state. A composition by John Robert Cozens (1752–97) that he realised as a watercolour is close, but there are sufficient differences from the Monro School drawing to raise doubts about whether Girtin and Turner worked directly either from it or, more plausibly, from the sketch – discovered during the preparation for this online catalogue – on which it was based (see figure 1). Cozens’ sketch of the tomb is one of three views taken in the Roman Campagna that are contained in an album that was put together by Charles James Richardson (1806–71) from drawings he acquired from Sir John Soane (1753–1837), whose collection of Italian subjects by Cozens included seven comparable scenes (see TG0589 figure 1). The Monro School view of the so-called Temple of the Sibyl (TG0589) likewise differs in a few details from the Cozens sketch, posing the same question of whether Girtin might have been allowed the freedom to introduce the changes himself or whether he actually worked from a different source. The latter scenario is arguably more likely, especially as the modest size of the Monro School work is more in keeping with the scale of the sketches that Cozens produced on his second trip to the Continent in 1782. Whichever the case, the source for both watercolours was likely to have been acquired at the auction of Cozens’ work held in July 1794, which contained twenty-seven ‘books of sketches’ and many hundreds of drawings made on his travels. And, as Kim Sloan has argued, given that Monro’s posthumous sale included only a few sketches by Cozens, the patron must have borrowed much of the material from which Girtin and Turner produced works such as this (Sloan and Joyner, 1993, pp.81–82).

The distinctive form of the tomb, originally with five conical towers, combined with its legendary associations with the earliest days of the Roman empire, ensured its popularity as a subject with generations of British artists, amateur and professional. Turner himself was to sketch the monument during his 1819 trip to Italy.

The album containing this drawing was sold in 1833 as the work of Turner, but the cataloguer of the Turner Bequest, Alexander Finberg, thought that Girtin alone was responsible for the watercolours, whilst more recently Andrew Wilton has established their joint authorship (Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1227; Wilton, 1984a, pp.8–23). Identifying the division of labour within Monro School drawings is considerably helped, as here, when the colour washes leave much of the pencil work showing through. An architectural subject generally requires a more detailed underdrawing than a landscape, and in this case Girtin’s inventive and fluent hand is clearly apparent under Turner’s economical use of a monochrome palette.

1794 - 1797

Albano: The Ruins of a Mausoleum, Known as the Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii


1794 - 1797

Tivoli: ‘The Temple of the Sibyl’, Seen from Below


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).

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.