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Cotman, John Sell

John Sell Cotman (kŏt´mən), 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).

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Cotman, John Sell

Cotman, John Sell (1782–1842). Architect, draughtsman, landscape and water-colour painter. The son of a prosperous silk-mercer in Norwich, he was intended for his father's business, but preferring art, went to London to study in 1798. He exhibited at the Royal Academy 1800–6, before returning to Norwich in 1807 to open a school for drawing and design. He joined the Norwich Society of Artists, becoming president in 1811. In 1834, on the recommendation of Turner, he became professor of drawing at King's College, London. His later years were clouded by ill-health and depression. His original painting style was not popular, but he is now seen as one of the most original and versatile English artists of the first half of the 19th cent., with the water-colour Greta Bridge (1805) probably his masterpiece.

June Cochrane

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Cotman, John Sell

Cotman, John Sell (1782–1842) British landscape painter and etcher, co-founder (with John Crome) of the Norwich School. One of Britain's most important 19th-century watercolourists. He used broad, flat colour washes and built up his images in sharply defined planes and simple shapes. His paintings include Greta Bridge (c.1805) and Chirk Aqueduct.

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