COTMAN, Frederick George

1850 - 1920

Frederick George Cotman, with wife and son

Frederick George Cotman, was born at 186 Wykes Bishop Street, Ipswich on 14 August 1850, youngest child of Henry Edmund Cotman (1802-1871), a former silk mercer of Norwich, and his wife Maria née Taylor (1813-1895), who married at Mattishall, Norfolk in 1842. Henry's elder brother was artist John Sell Cotman (1742-1842). The partnership of Edmund Cotman and Henry Cotman in the London Street, Norwich silk mercer’s business was dissolved in 1841 when Henry carried on the business on his own account, but was unsuccessful when the family moved to Ipswich but in 1851, were living at Mount Street, Diss, Norfolk but ten years later had returned to live at 33 Wykes Bishop Street, Ipswich including his brother Thomas William Cotman. A private pupil of William Griffiths, headmaster of Ipswich School of Art, 1866-1867 and assisted Griffiths with classes at the school as well as teaching at smaller local schools. Cotman’s work was first exhibited in 1867, at the Eastern Counties Working Classes Industrial Exhibition at Norwich, when he won a prize medal. The following year he became a student at the Royal Academy Schools and his proficiency as a draughtsman and painter in oils and watercolours, was rewarded with four silver and in 1873 a gold medal for 'The Death of Eucles' now at the Ipswich Town Hall. His teachers in London were Frederick Leighton (1830-1896) and Henry Tanworth Wells (1828-1903) and Leighton employed him to help paint 'The Daphnephoria' in 1876 and Wells also employed him on his paintings. Cotman became established as a London society portrait painter, for which he could command a fee of 300 guineas, and also produced homely genre scenes. Elected a member of both the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour and the Royal Instititute of Oil Painters, he exhibited from Norwich Road, Ipswich at the Royal Academy also exhibiting at the Society of British Artists; Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours; Agnew and Sons Gallery; the Dudley Gallery; Dowdeswell Galleries; Fine Art Society; Grosvenor Gallery all in London, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool; Manchester City Art Gallery; the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and the Royal Scottish Academy. He married at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, London on 30 March 1875, a Scottish girl, Ann Barclay, daughter of Barron Grahame, of Morphie, Aberdeenshire. In the same year Frederick became a founder member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club where in 1881, he exhibited from 10 Boscobel Place, Alpha Road, London, six paintings including an oil ‘From Shade into Sunshine’ and watercolours 'Absorbed', 'A Passing Wonder', 'Where the Abbey Stood' and 'Corn Exchange (pulled down 1880)', in 1882 an oil 'Tea and Gossip', in 1883 an oil 'From Church' and three watercolours 'Evening-Bury, Sussex', 'Amberley Castle, from the River Avon' and 'Queen's College from the Green, Cambridge' and a sketch drawing and was a regular annual exhibitor and remained a member until his death being elected president in 1899. He was also a member and exhibitor at the Woodpecker Art Club, later the Norfolk & Norwich Art Circle, 1887-1893, from London and in 1889 exhibited at the Woodbridge Art Exhibition at the Assembly Room at the Bull Hotel, Woodbridge an oil 'St Ives, Huntingdonshire' and a watercolour 'Croyland Bridge'. In 1891, Frederick with his wife and six children, were living at Widmere Common, Burnham, Buckinghamshire but in 1897 he moved to Lowestoft, Suffolk to enjoy his favourite sport of yachting. In 1901, he took a studio at Hemingford Grey, Huntingdonshire where he was living on his own account and about 1905 he moved to nearby St Ives, Huntingdon and by 1916 had moved in with his brother Thomas William Cotman, at Harland House, 49 Quilter Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk in which year he again exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club five works, 'Harvest Moon', 'Road to the Shore, Erwarton', 'Distant View of Harwich', 'Evening, the Mouth of the Stour' and 'Sunset', and where he died on 16 July 1920 and buried in Old Felixstowe churchyard. His wife died in 1936, aged 86. Cotman painted a self portrait with his wife and young son Henry William (1876-1938) who, with their second son Frederick Grahame (6 February 1878-6 July 1938), were also minor artists. His works are represented in both Ipswich and Norwich Museums.

Works by This Artist