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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
John Sell Cotman

English watercolourist who lived most of his life in his native city of Norwich. In 1800 he began a series of tours in search of the picturesque subjects so fashionable at the time. His first was to Wales, in 1803, followed in that same summer by a visit to Yorkshire. Both regions remained an inspiration, to be joined from 1817 by Normandy – part of which inspired him so much that he called it the 'Wales of France'. He was immensely prolific, producing for example more than 400 etched plates for the Architectural Antiquities of Norfolk (1812-18).

English watercolourist, born in Birmingham, who moved to London in 1804. Between 1824 and 1827 he was teaching drawing at Miss Croucher's School for Young Ladies and other such establishments in Hereford. In 1841 he returned to the Birmingham area, living at Harborne. But much of his life was spent travelling.

Like other watercolourists of his generation, he made frequent journeys in search of suitable subjects. He visited Holland and Belgium in 1826, and France in 1829 and again in 1832 (the coastal scenery of northwest France became a favourite theme). Within Britain he was inspired in particular by people going about their business on Lancaster sands. And throughout his life he made journeys into Wales, including annual visits between 1844 and 1856 to the mountainous regions around Bettws-y-Coed.

In the 1830s Cox engaged also in the contemporary fashion for historical costume pieces, in his case set often in one or other of two great Derbyshire houses, Haddon Hall and Hardwick Hall. But it was landscape which really inspired him. In the 1840s, after his move to Harborne, his style became increasingly bold - using rough absorbent paper on which he could paint quickly with a loaded brush

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