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7 October, 2017
John Sell Cotman - The Ploughed Field - Leeds Art Gallery

John Sell Cotman, The Ploughed Field, c.1808

I’ve seen the original of this, which is held in a safe in the Art Gallery in Leeds, where I live. It’s typical of the countryside north of here, and is an exquisite study in subtle differences of colour and texture. It’s also tiny, only a little larger than the postcard they sell in the shop (which is a good reproduction BTW, at least of the colours).

There are two human figures: a male, standing in ownership but in fact being owned, in shadow, surrounded by remembrances of death. He’s at the centre of his universe.

The other is female, walking up the path in the distance, in sunshine, surrounded by pale gold, free to seek a higher level.

What’s it saying? What you see is what you get.

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