Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/2/1/10
Page: 25 recto
Sydney D. Kitson entry regarding a Cotman painting with no title
A Cotman painting in possession of a Mrs Ethel M. Mason whom Kitson visited. Kitson wrote there are 'characteristic Cotman touches' in areas, yet parts which are not typical of Cotman, and suggested if it is indeed Cotman that it belongs to his early period.
Kitson included an extract of a letter from Mr H. Mason Esq to Thomas McLean of Hay-market describing the location of the aforementioned Cotman painting at Falaise in Normandy.
Sept:13.1935. Called, with Mr Randall Davies and F.B.M. on Mrs Ethel M. Mason of Bramfield House, Halesworth, Suffolk. Her father-in-law H. Mason of Bankfield, near Bingley, Yorks - made a large collection of pictures, which have descended to her. Among them is a Cotman oil 22" x 32" of a ruined castle near a river, on which is a barge - heavy group of trees on an island on left. The sky azure with dark grey horizontal clouds - as in my 'Barnard Castle - red underpainting.
Characteristic Cotman touches in castle and railings with fat blots of paint - but the left hand trees are very unlike those of "the waterfall". If it is by Cotman, it belongs to his early period.
"H. Mason Esq - To Thomas McLean of Hay-Market. To a picture of J.S. Cotman -£350-0-0. Purchased by Mr and Mrs Augustine Esq of Whirling Hall, Brandon, Norfolk." "29. April 1894-" On Nov:22. 1894 - Mr McLean wrote to Mr Mason - your picture by John Sell Cotman is at Falaise in Normandy one of a series of pictures he painted there. I have ascertained this thro' a friend at Norwich who came up and saw the picture, and referred to Cotman's sketch books in Norwich Castle, and it is then referred to under the title "Height and Depth." I took the picture to Mr Augustine myself but he could not give me the name of it.