John Sell Cotman
1 of 2 portraits of John Sell Cotman
- Extended catalogue entry
© 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)
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