John Sell Cotman

Watercolour artist 1782 -1842

Through the independent support of The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Collections Fund, a small group of scholars, curators and volunteers based at Leeds Art Gallery, have been working systematically through the Leeds collection of John Sell Cotman drawings, prints and watercolours, and have so far catalogued just over four hundred works.

The team’s ambition is to inspire and engage people with this British watercolour artist and to establish a platform for both public and scholarly interest in the work and life of John Sell Cotman.

Inkwell Arts and Artlink, two arts and mental health organisations in Leeds have been approached to get involved. Our artists and the community have been given the opportunity to respond to the works of this renowned and prolific artist, who spent much of his time in Yorkshire painting the local landscape. Cotman is known to have suffered from mental health problems himself, which makes the response of artists from the Inkwell community even more poignant.

The project is due to launch this month with a special ‘Tea with the Curator’ session on Friday 24th March at Inkwell, followed by a visit to the Art gallery the following week. Theodore Wilkins and Natalie Walton from Leeds Art Gallery will be hosting an hour long talk to share with you stories about the the work and life of Cotman. There will, of course be plenty of tea and cake throughout the proceedings!

The project will bring opportunities to attend workshops, trips and gallery visits that will culminate in an exhibition at the Love Arts Festival and Light Night. More details of upcoming opportunities will be available soon.

For further reading about the progress of the project you can visit the Cotmania blog and website:

Bedlam Furnace
John Sell Cotman c1802

Greta Bridge
John Sell Cotman 1805