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

Entering the Tyrol: Unidentified Buildings amongst Wooded Hills

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0697: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after John Robert Cozens (1752–97), Entering the Tyrol: Unidentified Buildings amongst Wooded Hills, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 18.3 × 23.5 cm, 7 ¼ × 9 ¼ in. Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXXV, 36 (D36557).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Artist's source: John Robert Cozens (1752–97), Entrance into the Tyrol, graphite and varnish on laid paper, 17.1 × 24.8 cm, 6 ¾ × 9 ¾ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1977.14.4584).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • Entering the Tyrol: Unidentified Buildings amongst Wooded Hills
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
18.3 × 23.5 cm, 7 ¼ × 9 ¼ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Austrian View; Hills and Mountains; Lake Scenery

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in January 2018


Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833); his posthumous sale, possibly Christie's, 2 July 1833, lot 113 as 'The entrance to the Tyrol, &c. (3)' by 'Turner'; bought by 'Moon, Boys', £6; Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851); accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest, 1856

Exhibition History

Fourth Loan Collection, 1896–1930, no.8


Bell and Girtin, 1935, p.51; Turner Online as 'Buildings Among Wooded Hills; a Lake in the Foreground and a Mountain in the Distance' by Joseph Mallord William Turner and Thomas Girtin (Accessed 08/09/2022)

About this Work

This view of an unidentified landscape just over the border into the Alpine region of the Tyrol, part of western Austria and northern Italy, was bought at the posthumous sale of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). The watercolour displays many of the signs that mark the unique collaboration between Girtin and his contemporary Turner at the home of their mutual patron 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 view is based on a simple outline drawing, inscribed ‘Entrance into the Tirol’ and dated 4 June 1782, that is mounted in an album now at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (see the source image above). This was almost certainly traced by Cozens himself from the on-the-spot sketch that he made on a second visit to Italy (Bell and Girtin, 1935, no.194), when the artist accompanied his patron William Beckford (1760–1844) through northern Italy to Naples. The sketch is the opening image in the first of seven sketchbooks that survive from the trip (The Whitworth, Manchester (D.1975.4.1)), and it was presumably traced by Cozens because his original drawings were retained by Beckford. Monro’s posthumous sale, in 1833, contained only twenty or so sketches by Cozens, so the patron must have borrowed the majority of the ‘outlines or unfinished drawings’ copied by Girtin and Turner. In this case, the source of the Monro School watercolour was presumably purchased at the sale of ‘Mr COZENS’ in July 1794 by Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827).2 As Kim Sloan has noted, Beaumont mounted ‘215 “tracings” or drawings on oiled paper’ in an album that he presumably lent to Monro, and it was from this collection that the two young artists produced more than fifty watercolours, and there is no suggestion that the Monro School work was copied from the Cozens on-the-spot sketch (Sloan and Joyner, 1993, pp.89–91). Beckford and his party crossed into Italy via the Brenner Pass and the first sixteen on-the-spot sketches produced by Cozens show scenes in the Tyrol region. At least six of these ultimately provided models for Monro School drawings, including A Tree-Lined Valley, near Innsbruck (TG0701).

Monro’s posthumous sale, in 1833, contained at least one scene in the Tyrol and typically this was attributed to Turner alone. The cataloguer of the Turner Bequest, Alexander Finberg, thought that Girtin alone was responsible for watercolours such as this example, which was bought by Turner himself, whilst more recently Andrew Wilton has established their joint authorship (Finberg, 1909, vol.2, p.1236; Wilton, 1984a, pp.8–23). Identifying the division of labour within Monro School drawings is considerably helped, as here, when the colour washes by Turner leave some of the pencil work untouched in order to create highlights, with the result that Girtin’s inventive and fluent hand is clearly apparent alongside Turner’s economical use of a simple palette of blues and greys.

1794 - 1797

A Tree-Lined Valley, near Innsbruck


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).
  2. 2 A full record of the sale is available in the Documents section of the Archive (1794 – Item 1)

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