A figure resting in a ruined tower

John Sell Cotman British

Not on view

Cotman may have created this evocative image of an isolated, ruined tower during a sketching session, or as a teaching tool. For much of his career, the artist supported himself as a drawing master in his home town of Norwich and then, from 1834, as Master of landscape drawing at King's College School in London. During regular tours in England, Wales and Normandy, he sought out medieval architecture and drew forms in silhouette, emphasizing ornamented doors and windows. In this romantic image, a lone figure rests on the steps of a decayed structure whose cliffside position seem precarious. A counterpoint of dark and light moves from a small window that pierces a bright stone wall, into the shadowed interior of the ruin. Small birds soaring at right accentuate scale and the void of the adjacent valley.

A figure resting in a ruined tower, John Sell Cotman (British, Norwich 1782–1842 London), Graphite

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