Cotman, John Sell [key], 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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present: Biographies