The Cotman Collection | 30

Cotmania. Vol. VII. 1931-2

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/2/1/7
Page: 10 verso

  • Description

    A watercolour exhibition and Kitson's diary entries 3-21 November 1931

    Article from The Times on a watercolour exhibition at the Squire Gallery; purchase of a Cotman drawing; Norman Lupton's collection

    Date: 1931

  • Transcription

    [Newspaper cutting]
    Though it is specially addressed to collectors, the autumn exhibition of Early English Water-colour Drawings at the Squire Gallery, 1A, Baker-street, should also interest students of the subject. It is evident that, particularly in the case of the earlier and less familiar men. great pains have been taken to get the attributions right, and the exhibition is full of side-lights and cross references in style. This is a field in which the Squire Gallery is doing useful work—work which is only possible to those who constantly handle and compare the productions of the school.
    The drawings are catalogued, though not arranged, in chronological order, and the range in time extends from Francis Place (1647-1728) to E. M. Wimperis, who died in 1900. Great names are represented, but a large proportion of the works are by artists that few except special students know much about. One of the two drawings by Place illustrates cross reference. "Easby Abbey, Richmond," a charming thing in pen line and sepia—or bistre—is of its period; but "Sherif Hutton Castle, Yorkshire,"* suddenly leaps forward in style and might be mistaken at a glance for a work of the Cotman school. Two of the seven Paul Sandbys are in strong contrast; "The Study " is free and fantastic, but "Landscape with a Grotto" would suggest that the artist was minutely interested in the subject itself—as if he had landscape-gardened the scene. There are four Rowlandsons, including "A Singlestick Match" at a fair, from the late Captain Desmond Coke's collection, and "The Sailing Party," evidently drawn when the artist was quite sober and in control of all his powers. "The Severn Valley" is a delightful little early George Barret, jun., classical in feeling and precise—though not small—in execution: it would be difficult to find anything more nineteenth-century English in feeling than "Evening," catalogued as "English School," and possibly by Muller; "Arles," by Samuel Prout, shows his distinguished powers in pencil; and "Low Tide, Evening on the Coast of Cornwall," takes Constable further West than we have seen before.
    A special feature of the exhibition is a collection of drawings by J. Baverstock Knight (1785-1850), from the possession of one of his descendants. They show a great variety of styles, with suggestions of Francis Towne in some of them. "Tanybeolck," a slight study in pen line and grey-blue wash, is the most attractive as a drawing. According to a note on the artist in the catalogue, Knight, who was a Dorset man, practised as a land surveyor and was employed as an expert on architectural design.

    [Notes in Kitson’s hand:]
    [on ‘Sherif Hutton Castle’] *Bought by S.D.K.
    ‘The Times’, 6.11.’31

    Nov: 3rd, 1931. Paul Oppé, who had spent the week-end Oct 31-Nov. 2 with us, rang up at the Club, & called, to say a very early J.S.C. w[ater]c[olour] was on sale at Fosters next day, Lot 61, ‘J. P. Cotman, Westhumble Sussex’. We located West Humble as just N[orth] of Box Hill & 2 miles from Fetcham (Monro’s house) Surrey. We saw the drawing together next morning: a faded pretty Munnesque drawing with no Cotman peculiarities. Signed ‘Cotman’, probably 1800. I left a bid of 6.10.0 & got it for £6.
    Nov: 21, 1931. We went in the new Car to Chalmington. N.D.L. has 2 large new John Varleys, signed & dated 1804 c 2.3 x 2.10, both Snowdon subjects. Also a smaller one, v[er]y beautiful, has been sold as a Girtin, signed J. Varley, c. 1800, 11½ x 18½, on back [from – crossed out] ‘Snowdon from Moel Shahed’ [sic, i.e. Siabod]. – Also ‘Llyn Ogwen’ c. 1800, rather messy.
    On the back of his Girtin ‘Ilkley’ drawing is written – ‘M’ Lascelles.
    His Cotman sepia bridge & Cows is signed ‘J. S. Cotman’ in ink, c. 1804, 6¾ x 10⅞. St. Botolph’s Abbey is 5 x 7½ . His collection is becoming very interesting and valuable. His 12 Sunderland drawings with close affinities to J. R. Coyners [?]. A sheet of three drawings of the same subject by Paul Sandby of a town (1) sepia, (2) half coloured, (3) fully coloured, which N.D.L. calls ‘a drawing Lesson’.

A watercolour exhibition and Kitson's diary entries 3-21 November 1931