Although no prototype has been found, the present drawing is probably based on an original drawing by John Robert Cozens 1752-1797, copied by Turner and Girtin at Dr Monro's 'Academy'. 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 of 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'. 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.
We are grateful to Andrew Wilton for dating the present watercolour to 1794-5.