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Romanesque Church, Octeville, France

John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)


Signed and inscribed 'Octeville' and '2578'


9 x 12 ½ inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', Chris Beetles Gallery, 2019, No 25

John Sell Cotman made three tours of Normandy, in 1817, 1818 and 1820, though drew at Octeville, near Cherbourg, only on the last. According to a letter written by Cotman’s companion, M de Gerville, a gentleman of Valognes, to the artist’s patron, Dawson Turner, Cotman ‘drew the Church of Octeville’ on 13 September 1820. However, the present drawing is the only one by Cotman of Octeville to have come to light, and it does not show the village’s Romanesque church of Saint-Martin, which is of cruciform plan and has a highly distinctive tower. By contrast, the Romanesque ecclesiastical building in the drawing appears to be circular in shape with a flat pedimented front surmounted by a small bell tower. It has yet to be identified and, given its dilapidated state, so well detailed by Cotman, may have since been demolished.

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