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

Lake Albano with Castel Gandolfo

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0616: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752–97), Lake Albano with Castel Gandolfo, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 25.1 × 37 cm, 9 ⅞ × 14 ⁹⁄₁₆ in. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Anonymous Gift in memory of Richard Wheatland, Class of 1895 (1986.596).

Photo courtesy of Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum, Anonymous Gift in memory of Richard Wheatland, Class of 1895 / Photo: President and Fellows of Harvard College (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • Lake Albano with Castel Gandolfo
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
25.1 × 37 cm, 9 ⅞ × 14 ⁹⁄₁₆ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Italian View: The Roman Campagna; Lake Scenery

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Gallery Website


Presented, 1986


Harvard Art Museums’ Collections Online as by Thomas Girtin and Joseph Mallord William Turner (Accessed 07/09/2022)

About this Work

This view from Lake Albano, looking towards the papal summer palace of Castel Gandolfo, 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

As with the majority of the views of the Roman Campagna completed at Monro’s home, it has not been possible to trace the source of this view of the hilltop palace, with Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s (1598–1680) dome of San Tommaso di Villanova dominating the skyline. In general, Girtin and Turner worked from compositions by John Robert Cozens (1752–97) and, more specifically, from sketches and tracings that he made during or after his stay in Italy from November 1776 through to March 1779. Few of these survive, but the auction of the artist’s work held in July 1794 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 the bulk of the material from which Girtin and Turner worked (Sloan and Joyner, 1993, pp.81–82). Journeying from Rome along the Via Appia, travellers would have been greeted by this view of the papal palace as the route follows the edge of the lake south; it is surprising, therefore, that there are not more images similar to this, and Cozens himself does not seem to have realised it as a studio watercolour.

The majority of the Italian scenes sold at Monro’s posthumous sale in 1833 were attributed to Turner alone and this remained the case until the publication of Andrew Wilton’s pioneering article in 1984, since when the joint attribution of the Monro School works to Turner and Girtin has increasingly become the norm (Wilton, 1984a, pp.8–23). In this case, enough of the pencil work is apparent even in an online image to concur with the decision by the Fogg Art Museum to acknowledge Girtin’s involvement in its production, with Turner adding monochrome washes to his collaborator’s outlines.

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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