John Sell Cotman
John Sell Cotman, British; English, Rochester Castle, ca. 1830, Watercolor and watercolor in flour-paste medium and pen and ink over graphite on paper; 21.3 x 30.8 cm (8 3/8 x 12 1/8 inches), Anonymous gift 69.154.7
Although John Sell Cotman was little recognized during his lifetime, today he is regarded as one of the most original interpreters of watercolor. His work from the first decade of the nineteenth century, which is also represented in RISD’s collection, is especially admired for its highly developed sense of design. This richly colored late work is the result of experiments Cotman begtan about 1830 with mixing a flour paste into the watercolor to strengthen the hue while retaining the medium’s translucence. The robustness of color equals the boldness of his composition. Color pen lines were used to sharpen the details of Rochester Castle, located in the County of Kent, east of London.