Purchased directly from the artist’s wife Anne Cotman by J.W.Duncan;
Maas Gallery (14562);
Cotman was a nephew of the Norwich watercolourist John Sell Cotman. At the Royal Academy schools, he was taught by Leighton, who employed him to work on his Daphnephoria in 1876. He became a successful portraitist in London, but painted at his best in his native Suffolk, particularly around the Shotley Peninsula on the estuary of the River Stour. This painting captures the local earth colours with native familiarity, and love. The ripening corn and the wild flowers in the grass set the time of year, while the light on the long reaches of the river gives the time of day. The landscape fits aptly in the unusual ‘letterbox’ format, constructed from two sheets of paper painted on the spot (as we know he preferred to work), and stuck together on a panel. The old harrow in the foreground and the barges - one sailing on the flood in the channel up river to Mistley (where Constable’s father once owned the boatyard), the other on the mud by the shore - relay the distance.