London – British Museum (Great Yarmouth Fisher Girl by John Sell Cotman)

I usually visit the British Museum three or four times a year, something which is a little difficult to do with the current virus situation, primarily because it’s shut. However, they’ve placed hundreds of thousands of images on their web-site, so this will have to do me for the moment. The images can be used non-commercially, as long as the British Museum is credited. So, this is their credit.

A watercolour of a fishwife in Great Yarmouth by John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) which was acquired by the British Museum in 1902 from James Reeve. They don’t know when it was painted, but Cotman lived in Great Yarmouth between 1812 and 1823, so it was probably then. There’s something quite intriguing about this one-eyed lady, standing in front of a lottery sign, with her key at her waist and her fish on her head. I’m not sure that I can think of another painting which is more evocative of Great Yarmouth at that time. I’m equally unsure what that says about Great Yarmouth or me, but there we go….