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Cotman in Normandy proposes a fresh look at the central chapter of the career of celebrated English watercolourist John Sell Cotman (1782-1842).
In 1822 he published two monumental folio volumes, Ancient Architecture of Normandy, and this exhibition aims to put this work in the broader context of his lifelong engagement with buildings, moving on from the general perception that this period was a distraction from Cotman's celebrated lyrical watercolours.The exhibition brings together around 100 drawings, watercolours and prints, allowing comparison of his Normandy work against the background of his earlier architectural work, and also presents a further 20 studies by other artists, including JMW Turner, Samuel Prout and Henry Edridge.
A Ruined House which can be seen in the gallery above was gifted to the Ashmolean Museum in the memory of Lady Sadler by Sir Michael Sadler in 1931.
What the critics say
Cotman’s touch is finicky, his attention to descriptive detail over-precise
This is a fascinating show, and a good introduction to Cotman if you don't already know him.