While exploring the collections of the British Museum for items related to Livorno I stumbled upon a series of drawings by Alexander Cozens from 1746 depicting the port and fortifications of Livorno from the extraordinary viewpoint of the lighthouse. In particular I searched for the South view, hoping to see some detail of the Old English Cemetery, and there it was, even though the official description of the image doesn’t mention this fundamental “detail”:

Drawing from an album, view of the fortifications to the south of Porto Mediceo in Leghorn (Livorno) seen from the lighthouse; left, fortezza di Porta Murata, the separating Fosso Reale and to the right the lazaretto of San Rocco; plain with scattered houses and mountains beyond. Pen and black ink, with watercolour

Alexander Cozens, View of the fortifications to the south of Porto Mediceo in Leghorn (Livorno) seen from the lighthouse, British Museum, 1867,1012.1-52.
The Old English Cemetery, detail of the above.

While it is true that the image seems quite simplistic and not very realistic, its importance lies in the fact that it was drawn in 1746, exactly when the perimeter wall of the cemetery was erected thanks to the bequest made by merchant Robert Bateman in 1743; so this is the earliest image of the new configuration and the earliest artistic depiction of the cemetery I have been able to find in over 20 years of research.

The inscription at the entrance of the cemetery about the new wall and railing made in 1746

The official description of the image continues as follows: “From an album of drawings (1867,1012.1-52) made by Alexander Cozens during his visit to Italy c.1746. A note formerly attached to the cover of the album (now mounted separately, 1867,1012.1*) describes the subsequent history of the drawings: ‘Alexander Cozens, in London, Author of these Drawings, lost them & many more, in Germany by their dropping from his Saddle when he was riding in his way from Rome to England, in the year 1746. / John Cozens his Son being at Florence in the year 1776 purchaced them. / When he arrived at London in the year 1779 he delivered the Drawings to his Father.‘ The volume is recorded in the Keeper’s report to the Trustees, October 1867: “From Mrs Smith 10.10.0 [pounds] a volume of 51 pen sketches by A. Cozens. Mentioned by Leslie and Redgrave (A Century of Painters, 1866, I, pp. 377-8) in their respective wks’.”

There are some remarkable connections linking the author of this drawing, Alexander Cozens (1717-1786), his son John Robert (1752-1797), Livorno and the cemetery which I’d like to point out:

Henry Charles William Tremamondo (1756-1835), known as Henry Angelo, son of the Livornese fencing master Angelo Domenico Maria Tremamondo (1717-1802), known as Domenico Angelo, writes in his The reminiscences of Henry Angelo:

“Alexander Cozens was teacher at Eton whilst I was a scholar there. He and my father were coeval professors of their respective arts at this college, and were intimate.”, and also: “…Among these were several of the best works of Cozens, mostly scenes in Italy. Both father and son travelled for the purposes of study from England to that classic region of landscape, and the son stored his portfolios with subjects, which he was appointed to execute for several noblemen and gentlemen, who had travelled thither. The late Lord Warwick, Mr. Richard Payne Knight, and Mr. Beckford were his patrons…”. The “Mr. Beckford” was William Thomas Beckford (1760-1844), the author of the gothic novel Vathek, with whom John Robert Cozens travelled through Italy in 1782-1783, almost forty years after his father did.

So we have the author of this drawing, Alexander Cozens – friend of the Livornese Domenico Angelo, and of William Thomas Beckford with whom his son John Robert would travel through Italy – who visited Livorno in 1746 drawing, among other things, the Old English Cemetery, the same cemetery where, in 1788, 1791 and 1795, three women of the Beckford family would be buried, including the lover of Beckford, Louisa Pitt, her mother Penelope Atkyns, and her daughter Louisa Beckford.

UPDATE: As my contact Andrew Moberly pointed out after the release of this article, I forgot to include another important series of connections: the sister of Alexander Cozens, Sarah, was the grandmother of George Moberley (1803-1895), Bishop of Salisbury, who married Mary Ann Crokat (1812-1890); her mother, sisters, aunt, uncle and other family members were all buried in this cemetery in the 19th. century.

All these connections serve to underline, once again, the important role played by Livorno in the lives of these prominent families over several decades, connections which unravel as a result of the close scrutiny that comes with this kind of research.