COTMAN, John Sell
(b. 1782, Norwich, d. 1842, London)

Drainage Mills in the Fens, Croyland, Lincolnshire

c. 1835
Oil on canvas, 55 x 92 cm
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven

John Sell Cotman belonged to the Norwich School of painters, founded by John Crome and Robert Ladbrooke in 1803 in Norwich. It was the first provincial art movement in Britain. Artists of the school were inspired by the natural beauty of the Norfolk landscape and owed some influence to the work of landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age such as Hobbema and Ruisdael. The leading figure of the school was John Crome until his death in 1821. The society was kept together by John Sell Cotman until 1834 when Cotman left Norwich for London. The society effectively ceased to exist from that date.