Monday, 8 April 2013

That Alan Cotton painting could be yours


Many visitors to Fairlynch Museum have admired this painting by local artist Alan Cotton. It hangs alone in the Environment Room, away from the Museum’s other pictures. That’s probably because it’s inspired by the ancient landscape of Woodbury Common with those mysterious Bronze Age burial sites that fascinated Budleigh archaeologist George Carter (1886-1974). 

“I love this picture”, says Fairlynch Art expert Angie Harlock-Wilkinson. “Alan Cotton pulls our gaze irresistibly into this beautiful, timeless evocation of the Otter Valley by leading it along the sinuous 'S'-shaped curves of the silhouetted trees into the blue distant hills on the horizon.  The hunched, ancient oaks look as 'at home' in this familiar landscape as the wildebeest might do on the African plains.”

Living in Devon since the late 1960s has been an inspiration for Alan Cotton’s art but he has portrayed landscapes worldwide.  In early 2005 he was invited by the Prince of Wales to be his tour artist and accompany him to Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. 

The Mediterranean has featured regularly in his work. Two examples from a Budleigh Salterton private collection will be coming up for sale on Monday 22 April 2013 at Bicton Street Auction Rooms in Exmouth.  The largest is a scene of the Grand Canal in Venice (75 x 60cm) and the other is entitled 'Market at Midday in Marakech' (50cm square).

Auctioneer Piers Motley-Nash thinks that each painting will fetch in the region of £400-600 and recommends a pre-sale viewing. “I believe that while some examples by Alan Cotton sold in galleries fetch five-figure sums they fetch far less at auction,” he says.  “The Venice painting was sold by Messum's in London for in the region of £10,000.”

Viewing is on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 April from 9.30am - 5.00pm and Saturday 20 April from 9.30am - 1.30pm. The sale on Monday 22 April begins at 10.00am. For more information click on

Piers anticipates special interest in the works because of the artist’s association with the West Country. A past president and founder member of the SW Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, Alan Cotton has served on many art committees in South-West England - he is President of the Budleigh Salterton Art Club 

Born in 1936 Alan Cotton attended Redditch, Bourneville and Birmingham Schools of Art and Birmingham University. He was senior lecturer in Painting and Art History at Rolle College in Exmouth for a dozen years but resigned to paint full time in 1982, going on to become one of Britain’s most distinguished landscape painters.

Since the mid-1960s he has specialised in using a palette knife rather than a brush. Art historian Jenny Pery’s biography Alan Cotton: On a Knife Edge was published by Halsgrove in association with David Messum Fine Art Ltd in 2003.



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