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Thomas Cooper Gotch

Thomas Cooper Gotch RBA, RI (1854-1931) was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He was a painter of portraits, landscape and allegorical and realistic genre. He studied at Heatherley’s Art School (1876), the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Antwerp (1877), the Slade School in London (October 1878-June 1880), and with Jean Paul Laurens in Paris (October 1880-July 1881). He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1880-1931, showing 70 paintings in total. He was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1885 and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1912. He was a founder member of the New English Art Club (1886) and served as President of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists in 1913-28. He moved to Cornwall in 1887 and is considered one of the founding members of the Newlyn School of artists along with Stanhope Forbes and Walter Langley.

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Mouls Island from The Rumps, Pentire, North Cornwall
A watercolour measuring 3¾” x 7”. Signed T.C. Gotch. Inscribed in pencil verso: ‘Mouls Island from The Rumps. Pentire’.

The Subject
The Mouls is a small island lying 300 yards…

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…to the north-east of The Rumps, the site of Iron Age clifftop fortifications on Pentire Head in North Cornwall.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
An etching measuring 8¾” x 7”. Signed and dated in the plate T.C. Gotch (18)79. Provenance: shown at the Thomas Cooper Gotch exhibition held at the Penleehouse Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall, in November 2004-January 2005.

The Subject
The etching is after a poem by John Keats of the same title, which tells the story of a knight…

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…who is bewitched and then abandoned by a fairy spirit in the guise of a maiden. It includes the verse inscribed below the image: ‘She took me to her elfin grot / And there she wept and sigh’d full sore, / And there I shut her wild wild eyes / With kisses four.’ This is an early work by Gotch, the product of an exercise set by Alphonse Legros, his teacher at the Slade School.

Bearded Man with Headband
An etching measuring 7¾” x 5¾”. Signed and dated in the plate T.C. Gotch 1880 (May).

The Subject
This is an early work by Gotch, executed during his period at the Slade School. It is reproduced in Pamela Lomax, The Golden Dream: A Biography of Thomas Cooper Gotch (2004), p. 45.