The Cotman Collection | 31

Cotmania. Vol. VII. 1931-2

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/2/1/7
Page: 11 recto

  • Description

    Kitson's diary entry 23 November 1931 and two exhibitions

    Diary entry, 23 November 1931: visit to Orfeur in Bournemouth
    Review of exhibition at the Independent Gallery, The Times, 25 November 1931
    Cotmans in the Cotswold Gallery, November 1931

    Date: 1931

  • Transcription

    Nov: 23. We called on H. Orfeur in Bournemouth. The Cotman sepia he found behind a photograph in an old frame is a beauty – c. 1804-6, 6¼ x 12¼. Cows, water trees & what looks like the lodge to a park – (?) Costessy. Great refinement, smaller in scale & handling than most J.S.C.'s. His 5 watercolours looked better than in Wimborne. 'The Shadowed Bank' is especially attractive. One of the blobby ones is really good. He thinks 'the boy asleep in a Ch[urch] is St. Peter's Hungate'.

    [Newspaper cutting]
    "Inexpensive" is the hint conveyed on the invitation card to the present exhibition of English water-colours, mostly of the nineteenth century, at the Independent Gallery, 7 Grafton-street. With the remark that the work» are certainly not "cheap," in the artistic meaning, the question of prices may be ignored. There are some important names in the catalogue—Turner, Cotman, De Wint—but the special point of the exhibition in to illustrate the merits of such smaller men as Callow, Muller, Collier, and Wimperis. The exhibition, in fact, puts the emphasis on the "soundness" of the English water-colour school. Too often it is thought of in connexion with such comparatively irrelevant virtues as love of Nature and manual dexterity, but the truth of the matter is that some of its practitioners had more science than the present generation would allow without the evidence of such an exhibition as this. Love of Nature is there, undoubtedly, but it is generally expressed in a considered design and a translation into a definite scheme of colour generally reserved.
    A typical example is "A Heath Scene," by William Callow. Its likeness to Bonington recalls an interesting association of artists on travel, but it is more sober in style, with a more English accent. "Felixstowe," by Thomas Collier, has somewhat similar characteristics, with a fine appreciation of a general horizontal movement in the weather; and with it in affinity may be placed "Rotherhurst Farm, Sussex," by William Muller, and "River Scene with Windmill," by T. L. Rowbotham. Without undue elaboration all these water-colours are seriously considered from a pictorial point of view, and carried out in terms which strike a happy mean between natural effect and the special capacity of the medium for broad statement. The colour, too, has a "bread-and-butter" soundness which makes one regret the temptations to confectionery contained in the modern colourman's list. Speaking generally the great men are not seen at their greatest here, but there is an interesting "Study of a Tree in a Landscape," by Turner; Cotman shows his rank in "Classical Landscape"; and Cox and De Wint are at least characteristic in the examples shown. Drawings that should be specially looked for are "Near Warwick," by E. Duncan; "Carting," by P. La Cave; "The Dip of the Sun," by Samuel Palmer; and "Washing Day, Chartres," by Samuel Prout.

    [Note by Kitson:] The Times 25.11.31

    [Extract from catalogue]
    JOHN SELL COTMAN (1782-1842).
    7⅞ x 10⅛. Chalk. Signed, and dated 1813, with Cotman's number, 477. £15
    9¼ x 7¾. Chalk. Signed, with Cotman's number, 2046. £16
    7⅝ x 10¾. Chalk. With number, 5464. £18
    7⅞ x 11. Chalk. With number, 674. £21
    \25 LAKENHAM.
    10⅝ x 8. Chalk. With number, 275. £21
    See Illustration.
    9¾ x 7. Chalk. With number, 1839. £6 6s.

    [Note by Kitson:] From a catalogue entitled One hundred and one Drawings by English Artists, issued by the Cotswold Gallery Nov: 1931.

Kitson's diary entry 23 November 1931 and two exhibitions