This watercolour has faded quite a lot but it is included in this display because it was the first important watercolour Paul Oppé acquired. He bought it at an auction sale in London in April 1904. It was an expensive purchase which he made after some hesitation. But its acquisition was crucial in helping him decide to carry on collecting English watercolours. This work is a product of Cotman's first formative tour to Wales in 1800. With its powerful tonal contrasts and sombre colouring it shows the influence which Thomas Girtin's watercolours had on him at this time.
Gallery label, September 2004