The Cotman Collection | 54

Cotmania. Vol. VII. 1931-2

Archive: SDK Sydney Decimus Kitson Archive
Reference Number: SDK/1/2/1/7
Page: 16 verso

  • Description

    Kitson's diary entry for 18 June 1932; exhibition of Devon painters

    Proof copy of Cotman's Norfolk Etchings; forthcoming exhibition of the works of Devon painters born before 1800.

    Date: 1932

  • Transcription

    June 18, 1932. Went to the Whitworth Art Gallery. Wallis was away, but his assistant looked after me. They have on loan from a Mr. R. B. Beckett (? a retired J.C.S, living in Cambridge) 2 vols, cut down in rebinding, ‘Cotman’s Norfolk Etchings.
    Author’s own Copy.
    There is a note to Keymer on the back of one of the etchings, & several dates of 1st proofs.
    Others of the lot 1837 from the Red Cross sale 1918, gr. by Sir J. J. Cotman are ‘Four Sides of a Capital [of - crossed out] at the Castle at Falaise 5/-‘
    ‘Sculpture in the Ch[urch] of St. Paul at Rouen – 7/6.’

    Partly, no doubt, owing to its advantages in natural beauty and contributions to the more stirring side of history, Devon has hitherto been somewhat backward in vaunting its own artistic productions—to paraphrase Horace Walpole. This makes all the more welcome the announcement that during July and August there is to be held at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, an exhibition of the works of Devon painters born prior to 1800.
    As Dr. Havelock Ellis pointed out in his "Study of British Genius," no part of England can compare with East Anglia as the birthplace of great artists, but Devon can claim a respectable list. The most famous name is that of Reynolds, because Turner, though his father was a Devon man, was bom in London. Reynolds came from Plympton Earl, Plymouth, his father, the Rev. Samuel Reynolds, being headmaster of the grammar school there, and his earliest practice as a portrait painter—after his apprenticeship to Hudson—was at Plymouth Dock. His early work is said to have been influenced by William Gandy, the Exeter and Plymouth painter, who will also be represented in the exhibition.
    Hudson himself will be there, and other well-known names on the list are Conway, Ozias, Humphry, Hilliard, Northcote, Hayman, Haydon, Patch, Eastlake, Francis Towne, Downman, and Prout. Of these the most interesting to the present generation are likely lo be Nicholas Hilliard (1537-1619), the greatest of English miniature painters, who worked first at Exeter as a goldsmith. and Francis Towne (1740-1816), who anticipated the most modern treatment of landscape.
    In addition to works by the painters named there will be a section devoted to a comprehensive collection of such little known artists as Johns, Traies, Condy, Gendall, and Leakey. The great public galleries of the country are contributing many important works, and numerous hitherto unknown pictures, drawings, and miniatures are being lent by private collectors in Devon and in many other ports of England. One masterpiece, at least, is coming from America. A large proportion of the works have not been previously exhibited.
    The exhibition will be opened on Thursday, July 14, by Lord Conway of Allington, and will close on Saturday, September 10.

    [Note by Kitson:] 'The Times' June 15, 1932

Kitson's diary entry for 18 June 1932; exhibition of Devon painters