The Cotman Collection | 10

Cotmania. Vol. VII. 1931-2

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/2/1/7
Page: 4 recto

  • Description

    Newspaper cutting of poem with comparison to landscapes
    Kitson's visit to Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

    Newspaper cutting of poem (The Buzzards, 1922, by Martin Armstrong, (1882-1974)) with comparison to landscapes by Peter De Wint (1784-1849) and John Linnell (1792-1882)
    Kitson's visit to Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 25 July 1931, and the late painting The Wreck of the Houghton Hall

    Date: 1931

  • Transcription

    When evening came and the warm glow grew deeper
    And every tree that bordered the green meadows
    And in the yellow cornfields every reaper
    And every corn-shock stood above their shadows
    Flung eastward from their feet in longer measure,
    Serenely far there swam in the sunny height
    A buzzard and his mate who took their pleasure
    Swirling and poising idly in golden light.
    On great pied motionless moth-wings borne along,
    So effortless and so strong,
    Cutting each other’s paths, together they glided,
    Then wheeled asunder till they soared divided
    Two valleys’ width (as though it were delight
    To part like this, being sure they could unite
    So swiftly in their empty, free dominion),
    Curved headlong downward, towered up the sunny steep,
    Then, with a sudden lift of the one great pinion,
    Swung proudly to a curve and from its height
    Took half a mile of sunlight in one long sweep.
    And we, so small on the swift immense hillside,
    Stood tranced, until our souls arose uplifted
    On those far-sweeping, wide,
    Strong curves of flight,—swayed up and hugely drifted,
    Were washed, made strong and beautiful in the tide
    Of sun-bathed air. But far beneath, beholden
    Through shining deeps of air, the fields were golden
    And rosy burned the heather where cornfields ended.
    And still those buzzards wheeled, while light withdrew
    Out of the vales and to surging slopes ascended,
    Till the loftiest-flaming summit died to blue.

    Now I think that a very beautiful poem. To me the picture is pleasing, having the width of one of De Wint's great landscapes, and detail as rich and satisfying and English (if I may use the unpopular world) as John Linnell's. To me [...]

    July 25, 1931. Visited the Fitzwilliam Museum. Saw J. W. Goodwin, the sub-director. He shewed me the superb 'classical landscape' sketching club work. Told me the 'Seashore' was [away?] in the Arts School – went to see it with H. M. F[letcher]. An enormous drawing 2.3 x 3.0, bequeathed by Joseph Prior M.A. 1918 – title 'J. S. Cotman, 1782-1838, assisted by his son Miles E. Cotman 1811-1858, Lee Shore, with the supposed wreck of the Houghton Pictures, sold to the Empress Catharine of Russia'.
    The sky is tame & competent, the wrecks are meticulously drawn, the sea brown & turbid & rather nasty. The foreground has dead figures horribly realistic, powerful, a dog is covering a naked body with a wrap! The pictures & books do not seem to have been damaged by sea water! The whole is not contemptible, but
    the pity of it.

Newspaper cutting of poem with comparison to landscapes
Kitson's visit to Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge