• Houses in a Mountainous Landscape -

    Signed on original mount lower left: Alex.r Cozens.

    Grey washes over traces of pencil on tinted laid paper

    23 by 31 cm., 9 by 12 in.



    Anonymous sale, Christie’s, 8th July 1997, lot2;

    With Spink-Leger, London;

    Private Collection, London


    This drawing dates from the1760s and may relate to blot 16 in A New Method of Assisting the Invention or Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape, which wasn’t published until 1785. A drawing with a similar mountain in the distance dated 1763,  Landscape with Goat and Goatherd, is in the V & A.

  • A Drawing Lesson by a River, Buildings and a Bridge beyond -

    Signed on original mount lower left: Alex.r Cozens.

    Pen and grey ink and washes on laid paper

    8.7 by 13.6 cm., 3 ¼ by 5 ¼ inches


    With Artemis, London, 1980;

    With Spink, London, 1981;

    Private Collection, UK


    This drawing which is datable to 1755-65 is rare in Cozens’s oeuvre in being an English scene with English figures. It depicts a group of students being given a drawing lesson outdoors. Cozens was drawing master at Christ’s Hospital from 1749 and there are similarities with his Italian drawings – he was in Rome in 1746 - but the students are not wearing the distinctive school uniform. It could therefore depict Cozens teaching at Eton College which would date it to the late 1750s or early 1760s. The small scale of the drawing would also fit with his work on An Essay to Facilitate the Invention of Landskips published in 1759.

  • A Small Pool with Willow Trees -

    Signed on original mount lower left: Alex.r Cozens.

    Brown washes on laid paper

    20.8 by 29.1 cm., 8 by 11 1/2 inches



    With Leger Galleries, December 1982;

    By descent until 2012


    Alexander Cozens was born in Russia, the son of a shipbuilder and was sent to England to study painting in 1727. He was in Rome in 1746 and on his return to England was made drawing-master at Christ’s Hospital in 1749 and at Eton College in 1766. He built up a highly successful practice as a drawing master and numbered members of the Royal Family among his pupils. His method of teaching using `blots’ became fashionable and he attracted the attention of William Beckford in the late 1770s.


    He worked more in the Claudian tradition of romanticised landscapes rather than in the British topographical tradition of Paul Sandby. The present drawing has been dated to the 1770s. The combination of trees, a pool or body of water and foreground foliage are common in Cozens’s work (see `A Mountain Pool’, Tate Gallery, for a similar composition). Trees remained a fascination for him – in 1771 he published `The Shape, Skeleton and Foliage of Thirty-two Species of Trees.’

Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading