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Thomas Cooper Gotch BiographyEnglish Pre-Raphaelite painter & printmaker
born 1854 - died 1 May 1931
Student of: Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1931)
President of: Royal British Colonial
Society (from 1913 to 1928).
Thomas Cooper Gotch was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire
to a prosperous middle class family involved in making shoes and banking. The
family were nonconformists. He attended school locally, and entered his
father’s business, before taking up the
study of art at Heatherley’s Art School in
1876. Thomas Cooper Gotch then studied briefly in Antwerp, before progressing to
the Slade. He married a fellow student Caroline Yates, whom he met
in Paris. They had one daughter Phyllis, who
was a model in some of her father’s most
important pictures. The young family
travelled to Australia, where they settled
in Melbourne. They returned to England,
settling in the artistic colony of Newlyn in
1887. Gotch and his wife lived in Newlyn for
the rest of their lives. Thomas Cooper Gotch painted in the
style of the Newlyn School at this time.
Thomas Cooper Gotch died suddenly on 1st May
1931. The reputation of the artist, and the
recognition of his painting is long overdue for
a positive re-assessment.
It would be entirely wrong not to mention that the source of much of this information comes from the catalogue of The Last Romantics, the catalogue of the exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in the late 1990s.
Mr Thomas Cooper Gotch, the artist and Vice president of the Royal West of England Academy died on May 1st in his 77th year. He has a claim to be remembered as an artist who, at a time when realism was in the fashion and in the very bosom of its most active school in England, boldly struck out for himself in decorative composition. His Child Enthroned, painted in 1894, for which the model was his daughter Phyllis, made a sensation at the time of its exhibition, and indeed, a certain intensity of feeling which carried off the too-literal style in which it was painted.
To some extent the great
success of this painting was a hindrance to
Thomas Cooper Gotch, because it lead him to repeat himself
in other paintings conceived in the same
convention such as Allelulia, purchased by
the Chantry Bequest Fund in 1898 and now in
the Tate Gallery; A Pageant of Children, and
The Mother Enthroned.
Born in Kettering in 1854, the fourth son of the late Thomas Henry Gotch, Gotch was educated at Kettering Grammar School, and studied art at Hatherley’s, The Slade School at Antwerp, and in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens [1838-1931]. In his earlier years Thomas Cooper Gotch was a regular exhibitor at the Academy and the salon, where he was awarded gold medals for his painting, as also at Berlin. When Gotch had his great success he was already a member of the colony at Newlyn, Cornwall which had formed itself under the leadership of Mr Stanhope Forbes RA [1857-1947].
Gotch married a Hampshire lady, Miss Caroline Yates, and the extreme beauty and intelligence in youth of their only child Phyllis made their home at Newlyn a place of pilgrimage to the youth of the neighborhood. The child stories of the late H. D. Lowry, owed much of their inspiration to her. Thomas Cooper Gotch was for a time President of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists. His elder brother was John Alfred Gotch, a well known architect and writer on architecture.
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