JOHN ROBERT COZENS
(1752 – 1797)
View from Mirabella in the Euganean Hills near Padua
Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1937
Norman D. Newall, Esq., Newbrough, Northumberland (1888-1952)
Ian Woodner (1903-1990), New York
Private Collection, UK
In 1782-83 Cozens made his second trip to Italy, traveling with the young eccentric William Beckford. The artist filled seven sketchbooks on his tour, most annotated with the place and date of execution. On 19 June 1782 he made five sketches in the Euganean Hills, a picturesque region in the Veneto southwest of Padua. One of the sketches (Beckford Sketchbooks, i, 23) was preparatory for the present drawing, Cozens's only known depiction of this composition. A related drawing, "From Mirabella, the Villa of Count Algarotti on the Euganean Hills, Ten Miles from Padua", was in the Beckford sale and is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (Bell and Girtin, no. 216, repr.). This drawing depicts a view from Mirabella, the villa of Count Francesco Algarotti (1712-1764), connoisseur and collector of drawings, of which several by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo are in the Morgan Library. In the middle distance at left is the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria di Praglia with its Romanesque bell tower. The plume of vapor depicted in the drawing may represent a fumerole, a hole in the earth's surface from which hot gases and vapors are emitted. The Euganean Hills are volcanic in origin, and the region's many hot springs have made it a popular tourist destination since at least the eighteenth century. In a letter to Lady Hamilton dated 19 June 1782, William Beckford described the view from Mirabella that Cozens's drawing so poetically records: "Evening drawing on, and the breeze blowing fresh from the Adriatic, I reclined on a slope, and turned my eyes anxiously towards Venice; then upon some little fields hemmed in by chestnuts ... and from thence, to a mountain, crowned by a circular grove of fir and cypress ..."