Alongside Turner, John Sell Cotman is seen as one of the finest watercolourists of the nineteenth century.
With watercolours, sketches and prints and nine recently-acquired Cotman drawings, this show explores his relationship with his contemporaries. His letters are used to guide visitors through the show, giving a rare insight into this pioneering artist's world.
Cotman was born in Norwich in 1782, the son of a hairdresser, and quickly established himself as a gifted draughtsman and a painter with a keen vision of nature.
Between 1803 and 1805 he visited Yorkshire regularly to stay with the Cholmeley family, of Brandsby Hall, and the exhibition includes his watercolour painting, Gateway of Kirkham Priory, an etching of St Mary's Abbey, York, and a collection of sketches of the Cholmeley family.
These sketches were acquired by us in 2007, thanks to a grant from the Friends of York Art Gallery.
The exhibition also includes work by Cotman's contemporaries, such as John Varley, Paul Sanby Munn and Thomas Girtin.