This watercolour depicts St.

Peter's from the Villa Borghese gardens in a heat haze, the orange glow that saturates the atmosphere creating an oppressive feel. Aesthetically, however, this warm light provides a perfect foil for the lacy fronds of the foreground trees. 'He was the greatest genius that ever touched landscape', claimed Constable of Cozens, whose works he described as 'all poetry'. This watercolour has been recently dated to the second visit Cozens paid to Italy, in 1782-83, when he served as draughtsman to the wealthy and eccentric William Beckford, who found the heat of Rome insufferable.


Peter Agnew.

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