Cozens was a British draftsman and romantic landscape painter. He was taught by his father, Russian born watercolourist, Alexander Cozens and much of his work was executed during and as a result of two long trips to the Continent. Thomas Girtin and J M W Turner looked to his work for inspiration and Constable called him ‘the greatest genius that ever touched landscape‘.
John Robert Cozens (1752-1797), In the Gardens of the Villa Negroni at Rome,
Watercolour; 10 ¾ x 14 5/8 in (26.1 x 37.1cm)
In 1782 Cozens made his second visit to Italy as draughtsman to his patron, the capricious and eccentric antiquarian William Beckford (1766 – 1844). In late summer, while Beckford stayed at Sir William Hamilton’s villa at Portici, Cozens travelled south to Vietri and Salerno making sketches for his young and demanding patron.