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

An Unidentified Waterside Town

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0508: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752–97), An Unidentified Waterside Town, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on paper, 29 × 47 cm, 11 ⅜ × 18 ½ in. Cooper Gallery, Barnsley (CP/TR 010).

Photo courtesy of Trustees of the Cooper Gallery, Barnsley Museums (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • An Unidentified Waterside Town
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
29 × 47 cm, 11 ⅜ × 18 ½ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Lake Scenery; Unidentified Topographical View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Gallery Website


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, possibly Christie’s, 28 June 1833, lot 80 as 'A scrap-book, containing 66 sketches in Switzerland, in blue and Indian ink' by 'Turner'; bought by 'Hixon', £21 11s 6d; ... Sir Michael Ernest Sadler (1861–1943); presented through the National Art-Collections Fund (The Art Fund), 1933, as 'Italian Coast Town' by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Exhibition History

Barnsley, 1937, no number


Gallimore, 2016, p.32; Barnsley Museums Online as 'A Town on the Italian Coast' by Joseph Mallord William Turner (Accessed 06/09/2022)

About this Work

This unidentified waterside town has a number of features in common with the work produced at the house of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) by Girtin and his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) in the winter months of the years between 1794 and 1797. In particular, the composition of the landscape resembles some of the views made after the sketches and tracings of John Robert Cozens (1752–97) dating from his two trips to the Continent, though it has not been possible to identify the subject. Views of the northern Italian lakes that Cozens sketched on his first foreign tour, in 1776, provide the closest parallel, most notably Lake Como (TG0502), though a Swiss subject cannot be ruled out either.

The watercolour is currently attributed to Turner alone, but, though the pencil work (the role typically undertaken by Girtin) is neither prominent nor of outstanding quality, this does not mean that a collaboration between the two artists is out of the question. Turner’s subtle, economical use of washes of a limited palette of blues and greys certainly outshines the pencil drawing here. However, a landscape copied from another source would have required little more than a basic outline for Turner to follow, and there would have been little opportunity for Girtin, if he was involved in its production, to show off his skills as a draughtsman. On balance, I therefore suspect that both Turner and Girtin worked on the drawing for Monro.

1794 - 1797

Lake Como, from the Villa Giulia, near Bellagio


by Greg Smith

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