John Sell Cotman was born in Norwich, the son of a hairdresser, later a haberdasher. He entered Norwich Grammar School as a ‘freeplacer’ and was later an influential member of the Norwich Society of Artists. In between, his career spanned sketching, watercolours, oil painting and etching. As well as working in London, Cotman embarked on a number of sketching tours that were to have a dramatic effect on his artistic development to such places as Wales, Yorkshire. He later also travelled to Normandy in France.
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