John Sell Cotman

Llanthony Abbey


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Sell Cotman 1782–1842
Watercolour on paper
Support: 438 × 330 mm
Presented by the Art Fund (Herbert Powell Bequest) 1967

Display caption

Cotman was slightly younger than Girtin and Turner, but like them he created dramatic compositions showing buildings important to the history of Britain.

In previous generations medieval architecture was considered as simply barbaric, apparently lacking the balance and simplicity of classical styles. Images like this, which cast ruins as the source of Sublime awe, encouraged the appreciation of medieval buildings for their emotional and historic associations.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

John Sell Cotman 1782–1842

T00970 Llanthony Abbey 1801

Inscribed ‘Cotman. 1801’ b.r. Watercolour, 17¼ x 13 (44 x 33).
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: R.A. 1801 (410); Tate Gallery, 1922 (189); see also under Atkins T00964.
Lit: S D Kitson, The Life of John Sell Cotman, 1937, pp. 256; Martin Hardie, Water-colour Painting in Britain, II, 1967, p. 74.

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


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