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Trees At Thorpe

John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)


Inscribed with title and dated 1837

Chalk on tinted paper

13 x 10 inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', Chris Beetles Gallery, 2019, No 21

In old age, John Sell Cotman’s father, Edmund, retired from Norwich to his villa in the hamlet of Thorpe, on the bank of the River Yare (now at 18 Yarmouth Road). On visiting him there, Cotman would make drawings of the area, including the present one of trees, dated 1837. In the following year, he included an etching, of a different group of trees at Thorpe, in his Liber Studiorum: A Series of Sketches and Studies, published by Henry G Bohn. Then, in the year of his death, in 1842, he produced the unfinished, but highly refined, oil, From My Father’s House at Thorpe (Norwich Castle Museum), which is dominated by a variety of trees. His father outlived him by a year or two, dying in either 1843 or 1844. Trees were central to Cotman’s work throughout his career, and often seem to have had personal associations.

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