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Tuesday 12 January 2021

John Sell Cotman’s soft ground etching, “Conway Castle. N. Wales”, 1838

John Sell Cotman (1782–1842)

Conway Castle. N. Wales”, 1838, plate 31 from the series of forty-nine plates, “Liber Studiorum”, published in London in 1838 by Henry George Bohn (1795/6–1884) in "Liber Studiorum: A Series of Sketches and Studies by John Sell Cotman, Esp."

Soft-ground etching with dot roulette on cream wove paper with wide margins as published.

Size: (sheet) 45.7 x 30.5 cm; (plate) 18.8 x 12.6 cm.

Inscribed on plate below the image: (left of centre) " Conway Castle. N. Wales."; (right) "J.S.Cotman.”

Numbered on plate: (upper right corner) "31."

Popham 324 (Arthur Ewart Popham 1922, "The Etchings of John Sell Cotman." Print Collector's Quarterly, vol. 9, p. 271, cat. no. 324).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Plate 31. View of a round tower of Conw[a]y Castle, projecting outward from a circular crenellated wall; ruined section of interior walls in foreground at a lower level, and adjacent wall with two arched openings overgrown with vegetation at right; three flying birds approaching from shrubs at right” (

See also the descriptions offered by The Tate, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Fine Art Museums of San Francisco—the latter offers the interesting insight that the crumbled ruins in the foreground were once a “tall dungeon.”;;

Condition: faultless impression in pristine condition (i.e., there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling) 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$248.43/EUR203.34/GBP181.62 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this wonderful worm’s-eye view of Conway Castle—a view that the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco describes as a “story book view”—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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