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Works Thomas Girtin after John Robert Cozens

Part of Padua, Seen from the Walls

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0705: Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after John Robert Cozens (1752-1797), Part of Padua, Seen from the Walls, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 12.7 × 19.1 cm, 5 × 7 ½ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Christie's

Artist's source: John Robert Cozens (1752–97), Part of Padua from the Walls, graphite and varnish on laid paper, 19.4 × 25.4 cm, 7 ⅝ × 10 in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1977.14.4518).

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

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • Part of Padua, Seen from the Walls
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper
12.7 × 19.1 cm, 5 × 7 ½ in
Object Type
Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Italian View: The North

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Squire Gallery, London, 1955; ... Sotheby's, 19 March 1981, lot 165 as by Thomas Girtin, £300; Christie’s, 15 November 1983, lot 53, unsold; Christie’s, 20 November 1984, lot 17, unsold

About this Work

This simple drawing of the northern Italian city of Padua, seen from the walls with the dome of the cathedral in the centre, has always been attributed to Girtin alone, rather than being seen as a collaboration with his colleague Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). The view is nonetheless, like most of their collaborations, still based on an outline by John Robert Cozens (1752–97), inscribed ‘Part of Padua from the walls – the mountains of the Tirol – June 18’, 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 an on-the-spot sketch he made on a second visit to Italy in 1782 (Bell and Girtin, 1935, no.214), when the artist accompanied his patron William Beckford (1760–1844) through northern Italy to Naples. The sketch is one of three Padua subjects (the others being TG0704 and TG0705a) in the first of seven sketchbooks that survive from the trip (The Whitworth, Manchester (D.1974.4.20)), and it was presumably traced by Cozens because the books 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, in other cases, coloured by Turner. In this case, the source of the drawing was presumably purchased at the sale of ‘Mr COZENS’ in July 1794 by Sir George Beaumont (1753–1827).1 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 (Sloan and Joyner, 1993, pp.89–91). This drawing is a simple unadorned copy of the Cozens outline in which Girtin chose to ignore the storm effect, with lightning cutting across the sky, that appears in both the tracing and the on-the-spot sketch. Beckford himself described the dramatic thunderstorm that coincided with his visit to Padua (Beckford, 1834, p.159) and Cozens duly made a feature out of it in the spectacular watercolour that he subsequently worked up for his patron (see figure 1).

Part of Padua, from the Walls

The view of Padua was sold in 1955 with another Monro School drawing that also appears to have been executed by Girtin working on his own, An Unidentified Mausoleum, Probably near Rome (TG0543). Girtin made several hundred pencil copies at Monro’s home from myriad sources, and, though ‘Turner washed in the effects’ in the majority of cases to create the distinctive Monro School drawings, there are inevitably a number of examples where the outlines were not touched on or just lightly washed, as here (Farington, Diary, 12 November 1798). Works such as this were presumably amongst the items sold under Girtin’s name at Monro’s posthumous sale in 1833 as ‘Unfinished sketches’ or ‘Foreign views’ (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 1 July 1833, lots 101 and 103).

1794 - 1797

The Euganean Hills, Seen from the Walls of Padua


1800 - 1820

The Abbey of Santa Giustina at Padua


1794 - 1797

An Unidentified Mausoleum, Probably near Rome


by Greg Smith

Place depicted


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

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