On Friday evenings, during the winter, he invited young artists into his home to copy from this collection. This ‘academy’ played a crucial role in Turner’s development, for not only was he paid half-a-crown and given supper, but it also exposed him to a vast cache of material, which fired his imagination. In addition, it gave him the opportunity to meet regularly with his fellow artists.
This image corresponds to Cozens’ drawing in volume IV of his sketchbooks, which was executed in pencil with some grey wash, and inscribed: ‘A Cassino built by Cardinal Spinelli when Arch Bishop of Naples – Pausilippe / - Octr. 24’. Although identified as such by Cozens, the view is actually of the structure known as the Villa Donna Anna, after its seventeenth century owner, Anna Carafa, Duchess of Stigliano, who commissioned the architect Cosimo Fanzago to rebuild a fifteenth-century fort in 1640. The building survives, although much altered, and is still recognisable today. Cozens’ inscription confuses the view with that of the Villa del Cardinale, after its early owner Cardinal Spinelli, located far from Posillipo at Torre del Greco. Cozens may have mistakenly labelled the sketch at the time.
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