The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 25, 2024

Traveler in a Woodland Landscape

Traveler in a Woodland Landscape

(British, 1782–1842)
Sheet: 30.3 x 21 cm (11 15/16 x 8 1/4 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

This drawing is closely related to one in the collection of the Norwich Castle Museum, in which a similarly abstracted figure retreats beneath embowering trees twisted in fantastic shapes.


John Sell Cotman left his native Norfolk at the young age of 16 and traveled to London with the aspiration to be an artist. His work evolved at a rapid pace as he developed a highly original style remarkable for its simple elegance and schematic treatment of the natural world. This landscape was made soon after a trip to Yorkshire. Cotman largely ignored the noteworthy landmarks of the area, preferring obscure views—trees, crumbling stone walls, and dilapidated fences. Inspired by the Greta woods, the straining bows of the trees form a beautifully balanced structure of geometric and amorphous shapes.
  • ?-?
    Eric Hinde
    (Davis and Langdale, New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH)
    Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Rajnai, Miklós and Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton. John Sell Cotman, 1782-1842: Early Drawings (1798-1812) in Norwich Castle Museum. Norwich, UK: Norfolk Museums Service, 1979. Mentioned: p. 58, no. 49, and p. 58, n. 7, no. 48
    Turner, Evan H. et al. "Notable Acquisitions." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 78, no. 3 (June 1991): 63-147. Reproduced: p. 77 25161319
    Hill, David. Cotman in the North: Watercolours of Durham and Yorkshire. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. Mentioned: p. 173, n. 20
    Lemonedes, Heather. British Drawings: The Cleveland Museum of Art. Exh. Cat. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2013. Mentioned: pp. 56-7, 144, no. 17; Reproduced: p. 57
  • Notable Acquisitions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (June 7-September 15, 1991).
    Nature Sublime: Landscapes from the 19th Century. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (August 15-November 14, 2004).
    British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art . The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 10-May 26, 2013).
  • {{cite web|title=Traveler in a Woodland Landscape|url=false|author=John Sell Cotman|year=1806|access-date=25 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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