John Sell Cotman

Carnarvon

1800

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite, watercolour and gum arabic on paper
Dimensions
Support: 256 x 346 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Reference
T08830

Display caption

Caernarfon, with its magnificent castle, was a favourite tourist spot at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Many artists created images of its scenery.

Cotman was one of the most innovative watercolour artists of his generation. Here, he has abandoned the more detailed and incident-filled approach to landscape favoured by older artists such as Thomas Hearne and Paul Sandby. Instead, the composition is entirely about evocative light effects and sublime mystery.

Gallery label, September 2004