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

Bondo, with the House of the Count de Salis and Castelmur Castle in the Distance

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0490: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752-1797), Bondo, with the House of the Count de Salis and Castelmur Castle in the Distance, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on paper, 23.9 × 37.5 cm, 9 ⅜ × 14 ¾ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Private Collection

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and (?) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • Bondo, with the House of the Count de Salis and Castelmur Castle in the Distance
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
23.9 × 37.5 cm, 9 ⅜ × 14 ¾ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; Hills and Mountains; Swiss View

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


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; ... Walker's Galleries, London, 1928; Sir Thomas Barlow (1845–1945), 1932, as 'Grisons' by John Robert Cozens; ... Phillips, untraced sale, 1994/95, as 'Bondo and Castlemur, Promontogno' by Joseph Mallord William Turner

About this Work

This view of Bondo, in the mountainous region of the Grisons, now known as Graubünden, displays many of the signs that mark the unique collaboration between Girtin and his contemporary Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) at the home of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833). Here they 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 title of the work comes from a now lost inscription that may have been in Girtin’s handwriting, presumably copied from the drawing on which the work is based. Although it has not been traced, the source for this drawing is highly likely to have been a sketch by John Robert Cozens (1752–97), who passed through Bondo in September 1776 and whose record of Castelmur Castle from a different viewpoint provided the basis for another Monro School subject (TG0494). Cozens’ sketch was probably in the form of a simple, though large-scale, outline drawing, which would have needed careful interpretation to create the ‘finished drawings’ that Monro required for his collection. 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. The majority concentrate on the natural scenery of the Alps, but occasionally, as here, Cozens stopped to record a building with particular picturesque or historical associations. Peter, 3rd Count de Salis (1738–1807), was the British-born governor of the region around Chiavenna, and in 1776, when Cozens passed through, he was still in residence, before returning to live in London.

The exact division of labour in the Monro School watercolours is rarely straightforward, not least, as in this case, where the work is only known from an old black and white photograph. There is enough detail, however, to ascertain the poor quality of the application of washes, throwing Turner’s involvement into doubt. Moreover, although it is not possible to make any meaningful assessment of the pencil work, it is not inconceivable that it is by Girtin. Given that it would have taken him much less time to copy the outlines of a simple landscape composition than it would have taken Turner to add the colour, it is likely that there were a number of Girtin’s uncoloured drawings in Monro’s possession after the artists’ employment ended, and these may have attracted the attention of one or more of the numerous young professional artists and amateurs who enjoyed the patron’s support or friendship.

1794 - 1797

Castelmur Castle, in the Village of Bondo


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.