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John Robert Cozens, 1752–1797
Near Chiavenna in the Grisons
Former Title(s):
Felsen Landschaft in der Naehe von
ca. 1779
Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor, black ink, graphite and gray wash on moderately thick, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 16 3/4 x 24 1/2 inches (42.5 x 62.2 cm)

Inscribed on back in graphite upper left: "9 9 4 6 | Mount AEtna from Grotta del Capro (underlined) | ( S < . . . > inde B.7.8) | te; in graphite center: "< 910 3-13 >"; in graphite lower center: "J.R. COZENS : NEAR CHIAVENNA"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
clouds | fires | Grand Tour | landscape | mountains | people | rocks (landforms)
Associated Places:
Campagna | Chiavenna | Grisons | Italy
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

For many Grand Tourists the trip across the Alps provided a sublime prelude to the civilized pleasures of Italy. In 1776 John Robert Cozens crossed the Alps and traveled in Italy with the connoisseur, collector, and classical scholar Richard Payne Knight. Payne Knight was an aficionado of sublimity in landscape, who would later make his own significant contributions to the growing body of literature on aesthetics and landscape. On their trip of immediately after, Cozens produced for Payne Knight a series of fifty-seven monochrome drawings of Swiss views, five of which are in the Yale Center for British Art.
Near Chiavenna in the Grissons, Cozens's most dramatic and sublime expression of alpine scenery, was not created for Payne Knight, not was the 1776 drawing (now in the Leeds City Art Gallery) on which Cozens based this impressive watercolor part of the Payne Knight set. Nonetheless, Payne Knight's preoccupation with the sublime landscape may well be reflected in Cozens's composition, which exaggerates the scale of the mountains to enhance the awesome grandeur of the scene. In the angular, almost abstract treatment of the rocky forms, Cozens also shows a debt to the fantastic mountainous landscapes of his father, Alexander Cozens.

Scott Wilcox

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 117 cat. no. 96

Past Time - Geology in European and American Art (Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, 2019-02-16 - 2019-05-12) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Past Time - Geology in European and American Art (Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, 2018-09-21 - 2018-12-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Alexander and J. R. Cozens (Art Gallery of Ontario, 1987-01-30 - 1987-03-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Art of Alexander and John Robert Cozens (Yale Center for British Art, 1980-09-17 - 1980-11-16) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Painting and the European Continent (Haus der Kunst Munich, 1979-11-20 - 1980-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Baskett, English drawings and watercolors, 1550-1850, in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon , The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 1972, p. 48, no. 62, NC228 B37+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

C.F. (Charles Francis) Bell, The Drawings And Sketches of John Robert Cozens, A Catalogue With An Historical Introduction , Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 23, 1934-1935, p. 35, no. 47, N12 W35 A1 (LC)+ Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, April 1977, pp. 270, 272-3, fig. 7, N1 .A54 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Gage, Zwei Jahrhunderte englische Malerei, britische Kunst und Europa 1680 bis 1880 : [Ausstellung] Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, 21. November 1979 bis 27. Januar 1980: [Katalog] , Ausstellungsleitung Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, Mèunchen, 1979, pp. 174-75, no. 76, fig. 76, ND466 Z85 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Graham Reynolds, English Landscape 1630-1850, Apollo, vol.105, April 1977, pp. 270, 272-3, fig. 7, N1 A54 105:2 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Simon Schama, The Yale Centre for British Art, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, , May 20, 1977, p. 620, TLS Historical Archive [ORBIS]

Kim Sloan, Alexander and John Robert Cozens, the poetry of landscape , Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1986, pp. 123, 124-25, pl. 138, NJ18 C83 S56 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christopher White, English landscape, 1630-1850, drawings, prints & books from the Paul Mellon Collection , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1977, pp. 44-5, no. 71, pl. LXXXVI, NC228 W45 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 117, no. 96, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Andrew Wilton, The Art of Alexander and John Robert Cozens, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1980, pp. 9, 42-3, no. 95, pl. 38, NJ18 C83 W55 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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