The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

John Sell Cotman

John Sell Cotman, by Horatio Beevor Love, 1830 -NPG 1372 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

John Sell Cotman

by Horatio Beevor Love
10 3/4 in. x 8 1/4 in. (273 mm x 210 mm)
NPG 1372

Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated in pencil: H B Love 1830

This portraitback to top

A related portrait, rather more meticulously finished, is in the British Museum, exhibited 'Portrait Drawings', British Museum, 1974 (191), also signed and dated 1830, drawn in watercolour and pencil and originally framed as an oval; he holds a copy of The Architectural Antiquities of Normandy, 1822. NPG 1372 is probably a preliminary study though slightly differently posed and more melancholy of expression. In a letter to the NPG Kitson compared the two: '… I think the British Museum one is probably what Cotman wanted the world to think he looked like: i.e. defiant and truculent, whereas yours is despairing and disillusioned. We know he suffered alternately from fits of acute depression followed by periods of unreasonable exaltation' (18 December 1932 in NPG archive).

Physical descriptionback to top

The head carefully drawn, the rest lightly sketched in pencil and wash.

Provenanceback to top

Love's daughter who married Pugh an engraver; bought from him by the father of Miss Mary James who sold it to the NPG in 1904.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for John Sell Cotman

Do, draw and make!

Do, draw and make!

From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!

Get Creative

Healthcare Heroes

Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.

Learn together

Learning resources

Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.

Get learning