John Sell Cotman

Harlech Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Sell Cotman 1782–1842
Watercolour on paper
Support: 267 × 429 mm
Presented by the Art Fund (Herbert Powell Bequest) 1967

Display caption

Cotman toured Wales in 1800, and made a series of drawings and watercolours of Welsh subjects in the following years. This watercolour of Harlech Castle in North Wales is related to a sketch he drew on 30 July 1800.

Harlech Castle was built in the thirteenth century by Edward I, and was often represented by artists at this time. It features in watercolours by Girtin, Varley and Turner as well as Cotman.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

John Sell Cotman 1782–1842

T00969 Harlech Castle c.1800–2

Inscribed ‘J S Cotman’ b.r. Watercolour, 10½ x 16¿ (26.5 x 43).
Presented by the National Art-Collections Fund from the Herbert Powell Bequest 1967.
Coll: Herbert Powell by 1922; entrusted by him to the N.A.-C.F. 1929.
Exh: Tate Gallery, 1922 (5); see also under Atkins T00964.
Lit: S D Kitson, The Life of John Sell Cotman, 1937, p. 43; Martin Hardie, Water-colour Painting in Britain II, 1967, p. 74.

Probably worked up from sketches made by Cotman either on his first visit to Wales in 1800 or his second in 1802. Hardie inclined to the earlier date, ascribing the watercolour to 1801. Kitson preferred the later date.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1967–1968, London 1968.

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