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

The Roman Campagna, from the Villa Madama

1794 - 1797

Primary Image: TG0572: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752–97), The Roman Campagna, from the Villa Madama, 1794–97, graphite and watercolour on paper, 17.5 × 29.2 cm, 6 ⅞ × 11 ½ in. Private Collection, USA.

Photo courtesy of Private Collection, USA (All Rights Reserved)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) after (?) John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
  • The Roman Campagna, from the Villa Madama
1794 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
17.5 × 29.2 cm, 6 ⅞ × 11 ½ in
Object Type
Collaborations; Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Italian View: The Roman Campagna

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Exhibition Catalogue


Elizabeth Villiers, The Dowager Lady Loch (d.1938); ... John Manning, London, 1971; Charles Ryskamp (1928–2010) (lent to Berkeley, 1975)

Exhibition History

Manning Gallery, 1971, no.7 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner; Berkeley, 1975, no.5 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner

About this Work

This panoramic view from the eastern slopes of Monte Mario as the river Tiber meanders into the distance 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 Roman views completed at Monro’s home, it has not been possible to trace the source of either this view looking out across the Roman Campagna to the Sabine Hills or the similar panoramic view, Rome: The River Tiber from Monte Mario, Looking towards the Sabine Hills (TG0571). 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). Cozens certainly explored Monte Mario overlooking Rome and he based a number of his finished watercolours on sketches made from the well-known viewpoints at the Villa Madama and the Villa Mellini. This view is from lower down the slopes, from where the Milvian Bridge (the Ponte Molle) is visible spanning the Tiber, as it is in the other view, which must have been taken from slightly lower down and to the right. The bridge carried the Via Flaminia across the Tiber into Rome and was therefore the entry and exit point for many British artists and tourists at this date.

The watercolour has always been attributed to Turner alone, as indeed were most of the works sold at Monro’s posthumous sale in 1833. Although it has not been seen in public since an exhibition in 1975 and is known only from a black and white photograph, enough of the pencil work shows through to suggest that this work too is a collaborative effort between Turner and Girtin as they described to Farington in 1798 (Exhibitions: Berkeley, 1975, no.5). A broad landscape view, in comparison with an architectural subject, simply does not require detailed pencil work, and there is nothing to suggest that Turner was responsible for that aspect of the work’s production too.

The Ponte Molle, near Rome

A closer view of the Milvian Bridge, seen from the same direction, is in the collection of The Whitworth, Manchester (see figure 1). The quality of the work is poor and it is clearly not by Girtin and Turner, though no other name springs to mind.

1794 - 1797

Rome: The River Tiber from Monte Mario, Looking towards the Sabine Hills


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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