Gateway of Kirkham Priory by John Sell Cotman

This delicate watercolour depicts the fourteenth century gateway to Kirkham Priory, Yorkshire.


Pencil & watercolour on paper
27.9 x 42.7 cm
Acquired in:
Bequeathed by:
Ernest Edward Cook through The Art Fund

Cotman spent three summers in Yorkshire between 1803 and 1805 where he stayed with the Cholmeley family in Bradsby. From there he went on regular sketching expeditions to York, Rievaulx Abbey, Duncombe Park and Kirkham Priory. This work combines the most sensitive pencil drawing, which carefully delineates the weathered and crumbling façade of the abbey, with bold passages of wash that distil the motif into a pattern of abstract shapes and colors. The painting is one of the two works by Cotman in Ernest Edward Cook's collection. Cook bequeathed the entire contents of his house to the Art Fund; the bequest comprised of over 150 paintings, tapestries, furniture, silver and porcelain and was distributed to nearly 100 UK galleries.


E E Cook, Part of a collection of over 150 pics; tapestries; furniture; silver; porcelain. Distributed to nearly 100 UK galleries. Collection formed between 1929-1939 and, in 1953, at the Ashburnham sale.

Venue details

York Art Gallery Exhibition Square, YORK North Yorkshire YO1 7EW 01904 687687

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £6.82)

Monday - Sunday 10am - 5pm