John Sell Cotman

John Sell Cotman

Cotman, John Sell, 1782-1842, English landscape painter and etcher. He was a leading representative of the Norwich school. Cotman studied in London and in 1806 settled in Norwich where he opened an art school. He suffered periods of melancholia throughout his life. He took up etching c.1810 and produced several series of etchings of English, and later French, antiquities. His Liber Studiorum (1838) is an outstanding work in this medium. For the last nine years of his life he was a drawing master at King's College, London. Although Cotman's work was but little appreciated in his day, it is now highly prized for its fine color, decorative and structural qualities, and sustained poetic mood. He is best known for his watercolors and drawings, of which the British Museum possesses many, including the famous Greta Bridge. Cotman's oil paintings are in many British galleries.

See catalog by V. G. R. Rienaecker (1953).

John Sell Cotman (16 May 178224 July 1842), was an artist of the Norwich school and an associate of John Crome. He was born in Norwich, England and worked mainly in watercolour, but also produced architectural etchings. He spent virtually all his life in England, apart from three trips to Normandy financed by rich patrons. He moved to London at the age of sixteen, and was based there for the rest of his life, although he travelled and painted extensively in Yorkshire.

His sons, Miles Edmund Cotman and John Joseph Cotman, also became painters of note.

The British Museum in London, England has a large collection of Cotman's works, as do the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Norwich Castle Museum in Norwich. Cotman's name is used as a trademark by Winsor & Newton for a range of artist's watercolour materials.

External links


  • Hill, David (2005). Cotman in the north : watercolours of Durham and Yorkshire. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300107048
  • Holcomb, Adele M (1978). John Sell Cotman. British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-8004-1
  • Lyles, Anne & Hamlyn, Robin (1997).British watercolours from the Oppé Collection. Tate Gallery Publishing. ISBN 1-85437-240-8
  • Moore, Andrew & others (2005). John Sell Cotman : master of watercolour. Norfolk Museums Service. ISBN 0-90310-178-5
  • Wilton, Andrew & Lyles, Anne (1993). The Great Age of British Watercolours, 1750-1880. Prestel, ISBN 3-7913-1254-5

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