Alexander Cozens (c.1717-1786)
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Alexander Cozens (c.1717-1786)

The Isle of Elba from the sea, Italy

Details
Alexander Cozens (c.1717-1786)
The Isle of Elba from the sea, Italy
signed 'Alex.r Cozens' (lower left, in the margin) and inscribed 'Isle of Elba' (lower centre, in the margin overmounted)
pencil, pen and black and grey ink, grey wash, on the artist's original wash-line mount
16 3/8 x 21½ in. (41.5 x 54.6 cm.)
Provenance
William Ward.
Dr. Theodore Besterman.
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Lot Essay

This rare topographical drawing by Alexander Cozens was presumably executed at the outset of his stay in Italy in 1746, when he sailed from St. Petersburg to Livorno. Both Elba and La Spezia, of which there is a very similar drawing in the British Museum (K. Sloane, Alexander and John Robert Cozens, New Haven and London, 1986, pl. 29), are close to his port of arrival. Moreover these two drawings are more direct and primitive in style than the topographical drawings executed in Rome particularly those in the Roman Sketchbook (see Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collections; see A. P. Oppé, 'A Roman Sketch-book by Alexander Cozens', Walpole Society, XVI, 1929, pp. 81-93, with illustrations) and In the Farnese Gardens, Rome, 1746, Sloane, op.cit., pl. 17.

This drawing was presumably among the works, that the artist dropped from his saddlebag in Germany on his return back to London; those now in the British Museum were found and bought by his son John Robert in Florence in 1776 (see K. Sloane, op.cit., p. 9).
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