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Saturday 18 January 2020

John Sell Cotman's soft-ground etching, "Norwich Thorp", 1813–1838

John Sell Cotman (1782–1842)

“Norwich Thorp”, 1813–1838, plate 18 from the series of forty-nine plates, “Liber Studiorum”, published in 1838 by Henry George Bohn (1795/6–1884) in London in "Liber Studiorum: A Series of Sketches and Studies by John Sell Cotman, Esp."

Soft-ground etching with dot roulette (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 as published.

Size: (sheet) 49.2 x 33.3 cm; (plate) 11 x 8.4 cm

Inscribed on plate below the image: (left) "NORWICH THORP."; (right) "J.S.Cotman”.
Numbered on plate: (upper right corner) "18".

Popham 1922 312 (Arthur Ewart Popham 1922, "The Etchings of John Sell Cotman." Print Collector's Quarterly, vol. 9, cat. no. 312, p. 270).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 18. A man seated on a riverbank near two trees in profile to left, with one arm outstretched, pointing to left; part of a building seen in background at left” (

See also the description offered by The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Condition: faultless impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use) with full margins as published.

I am selling this extraordinarily well preserved and rare soft-ground etching by one of the acknowledged masters of the English landscape, for a total cost of AU$320 (currently US$219.99/EUR198.34/GBP169.05 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this exemplary soft-ground etching executed with confident ease—I still haven’t decided why the seated figure is gesturing towards the ashlar structure but the gesture “fits well” with similar gesturing staffage figures in Piranesi’s prints made just 35 years before this print—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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