Although evidently based on an original drawing by John Robert Cozens it has not been possible to trace it. Girtin's pencil work can be seen in the finely accented draughtsmanship while the washes have been applied by Turner. For a full account of the watercolours executed in collaboration by Turner and Girtin in 1794-8, while students at the Monro Academy, see A. Wilton, The 'Monro School' Question: Some Answers', Turner Studies, Winter, London, 1984, p. 8-23.
Dr. Thomas Monro was consultant physician to King George III and Principal Physician at Bethlem Hospital. In 1794 he bought a large house in Adelphi Terrace overlooking the Thames. Soon after purchasing the house, Monro established what became known as his 'Academy' where young artists were invited to copy the work of earlier more established artists.
Joseph Farington, also associated with the Monro Academy, met Turner and Girtin at a dinner with the Hoppners and wrote in his Diary, 12 November 1798: 'they had been employed by Dr. Monro 3 years to draw at his house in the evenings. They went at 6 and staid til ten. Girtin drew in outlines and Turner washed in the effects. They were chiefly employed in copying the outlines or unfinished drawings by Cozens &c &c of which Copies they made finished drawings...The Academy apparently met on Fridays, and the students sat two to a desk, sharing a candle.'
The 'Monro School' drawings originate, almost exclusively, from the sale of the doctor's collection at Christie's on 26-8 June and 1 and 2 July 1833. Among works by earlier masters such as Rembrandt, Salvator Rosa and Claude, there were many prominent names of the Modern British School including Wilson, Sandby, Gainsborough, de Loutherbourg, Rooker, Dayes, Hearne and J.R. Cozens and a large number attributed to Turner. Turner himself was active at the sale buying four lots, all on 27 June (lots 94, 96, 97 and 99) and Thomas Griffith, his agent in the 1830s bought five other lots. Many of these were in Turner's studio when he died and became part of the Turner Bequest. Many London dealers were also active at the sale and 'Turner' drawings made their way into many other collections, both public and private.
We are grateful to Andrew Wilton for his help in preparing this catalogue entry and for dating this watercolour to 1795-6.