Thomas Cooper Gotch RBA RI (1854-1931)

The painter of children T. C. Gotch was born in Northamptonshire, and followed a fairly conventional art tuition at Heatherleys (1876), the Slade, and in 1880 in Paris, in the studio of J. P. Laurens. There he met a fellow Slade student, Caroline Yates, whom he married in 1881. They visited Australia in 1883, and on return to Britain, Gotch helped in the foundation of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists - he became the President of that body from 1913-28. The Gotches moved to Newlyn in 1887 - though Gotch was familiar with the area from as long ago as 1871 - and he became one of the colony of artists there.

Though Gotch produced many pictures in the Newlyn School manner, and also helped in the foundation of the New English Art Club, his style completely altered following a visit to Italy in 1891-2. Thereafter he produced pictures of children, in a highly decorative and often Symbolist fashion. It is these pictures by which he is best known today.

Gotch exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1880 through to 1931. He became RBA in 1885, and RI in 1912. As well as the visit to Australia already mentioned, he also travelled in Denmark (1889) and South Africa (1913), and his work is widely distributed.

Alleluia - an archetypical and major work showing 13 singing girls (1896) is at the Tate Gallery. The Pageant of Children (1895) is at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and The Mother Enthroned (1919) is in the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield. In Kettering are Death the Bride (1894/5), The Nymph and The Exile (1929-30). A Golden Dream is at the Harris Art Gallery, Preston, and The Awakening is in the collection of the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Abroad, My Crown and Sceptre (1892), an early child picture, is in Sydney, and Mental Arithmetic is in the National Gallery of Melbourne, Victoria. The Story of the Money Pig is in the National Gallery of South Africa, Cape Town, and Fireside Story is in the King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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