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The Image

An etching measuring 8¾" x 7". Signed and dated in the plate T C Gotch (18)79. Provenance: shown at the Thomas Cooper Gotch exhibition held at the Penleehouse Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall, in November 2004-January 2005.


About the Artist

Thomas Cooper Gotch RBA, RI (1854-1931) was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He was a painter of portraits, landscape and allegorical and realistic genre. He studied at Heatherley’s Art School (1876), the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Antwerp (1877), the Slade School (1878), and with Jean Paul Laurens in Paris (1880). He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1880-1931, showing 70 paintings in total. He was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1885 and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1912. He was a founder member of the New English Art Club (1886) and served as President of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists in 1913-28. He moved to Cornwall in 1887 and is considered one of the founding members of the Newlyn School of artists along with Stanhope Forbes and Walter Langley.


The Subject

La Belle Dame Sans Merci. The etching is after a poem by John Keats of the same title, which tells the story of a knight who is bewitched and then abandoned by a fairy spirit in the guise of a maiden. It includes the verse inscribed below the image: ‘She took me to her elfin grot / And there she wept and sigh’d full sore, / And there I shut her wild wild eyes / With kisses four.’


This is a rare early work by Gotch, said to be the product of an exercise set by Legros, his teacher at the Slade School.


Thomas Cooper Gotch


La Belle Dame Sans Merci (Keats)


Thomas Cooper Gotch - La Belle Dame Sans Merci (Keats)