Saturday, 1 July 2017

John Sell Cotman’s soft-ground etchings, “Twickenham” and “On the Yare, Norfolk”, 1813–18


John Sell Cotman (1782–1842)

Upper image: “Twickenham”, 1813–18
Lower image: “On the Yare, Norfolk”, 1813–18


“Twickenham”, 1813–18, plate 3 from the series, “Liber Studiorum”, published by H G Bohn in 1838 in "Liber Studiorum - A Series of Sketches and Studies by John Sell Cotman.”

Soft-ground etching (i.e. “a method of printmaking in which a drawing is made on a sheet of paper on a soft etching ground, pulled off, and the resulting design transferred to the plate by etching” BM) on cream wove paper with wide margins and lined onto a heavy wove support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 26.9 x 42.1 cm; (plate) 17.9 x 30.5 cm
Lettered at the upper-right corner with the plate number, “3“, and inscribed below the image at centre with the title: “Twickenham”.

Popham 1922 298 (Popham, A E, “The Etchings of John Sell Cotman”, Print Collector's Quarterly, 9, London, Campbell Dodgson, 1922)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 3. A group of cattle standing under trees and sheep grazing on the side of a path in foreground at right; figures on a boat on the Thames at left, flock of birds flying above; wooded opposite bank in background.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3349279&partId=1&people=128389&peoA=128389-2-60&page=1)

Condition: superb impression in very good condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds or foxing). The print is laid onto a support sheet of heavy wove white paper as the pressure of the platemark has weakened the integrity of the paper.

I am selling this original and rare soft-ground etching by one of the acknowledged masters of the English landscape, JS Cotman, for a total cost of AU$164 (currently US$126.04/EUR110.42/GBP96.84 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this major print by Cotman, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold






“On the Yare, Norfolk”, 1813–18, plate 4 from the series, “Liber Studiorum”, published by H G Bohn in 1838 in "Liber Studiorum - A Series of Sketches and Studies by John Sell Cotman.”

Soft-ground etching on cream wove paper with wide margins.
Size: (sheet) 24.2 x 32.9 cm; (plate) 15.5 x 20.4 cm
Lettered at the upper-right corner with the plate number, “4“, and inscribed below the image at left with the title: “On the Yare, Norfolk”.

Popham 1922 299 

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 4. Stretch of the river Yare, with two figures in a rowing boat in foreground at centre right, and wooded bank behind; hills in background.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3349316&partId=1&searchText=On+the+Yare,+Norfolk&page=1)

Condition: superb impression in very good condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds or foxing).

I am selling this original and rare soft-ground etching for a total cost of AU$164 (currently US$126.04/EUR110.42/GBP96.84 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this major print by Cotman, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold






All of Cotman’s soft-ground etchings were executed before 1818 but they were not published until 1938 by HG Bohn—a few years before the artist died.

Interestingly, in the process of printing the Bohn edition the plates became worn/“exhausted” and, as a result, marvellous impressions like these are rare. Certainly, beyond early pre-lettered proofs, the only original etchings from the “Liber Studiorum” series that may be found on the market are those from the very limited Bohn edition.

One of the advantages of the soft-ground etching process is that the artist draws directly and fluidly onto a piece of paper laid over the sticky ground of the prepared etching plate. Moreover, the lines transferred to the plate while drawing on the paper become a true record of the varying pressure exerted by the artist when making each stroke. Accordingly, this print has all the intrinsic beauty of a drawing in that it reveals slight hesitations as he thinks and observes the subject in front of him (see, for example, the hesitancy in Cotman’s depiction of the key points of interest) and, by contrast, an almost calligraphic flow when he works unhesitatingly (as seen, for example, in the rendering of the foliage mass of the trees).

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