John Sell Cotman

John Sell Cotman was a noted English watercolour artist who painted in the early nineteenth century. Unfortunately for him, his genius only became recognised after his death and during has lifetime he had to make do with selling of his paintings at low prices.

A noticeable characteristic of Cotman’s paintings is that there are large areas of undisturbed flat washes, almost like a patchwork appearance. In both these painters’ works, the eye is led to the focal point quietly without being overly distracted by secondary elements of the composition. I know it can be hard to resist adding more and more detail but the work of these two painters shows the value of restraint.

James Fletcher Watson has cited John Sell Cotman as one of his own major influences.

In many ways Cotman is now a much venerated British watercolour artist and notably the only watercolour artist in the list on this website to have work displayed in the British Watercolour Artists exhibition that is refererred to in the blog early in 2017. It is therefore ironic that he did not achieve success in his lifetime as his style was not appreciated then.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for John Sell Cotman.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sell_Cotman

And also a link to a freely available two-page pdf obtained via the web.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/Cotman.pdf