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 Thomas Cooper Gotch  (1854 - 1931)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England/France      Known for: Pre-Rafaelite painting, book illustration

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Thomas Cooper Gotch or T.C. Gotch (1854–1931) was an English Pre-Raphaelite* painter and book illustrator, and brother of John Alfred Gotch the noted architect. He studied art in London and Antwerp before he married and studied in Paris with his wife, Caroline, a fellow artist. They settled into the Newlyn art colony* and Gotch became an arts related organizations and galleries. He first made paintings of natural, pastoral settings before immersing himself in the romantic, Pre-Raphaelite romantic style for which he is best known. His daughter was often a model for the colourful depictions of young girls.

His works have been exhibited in Cornwall, at the Royal Academy*, Royal College of Art* and the Paris Salon*.

Thomas Gotch was born 10 December 1854 in the Mission House in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He was the fourth son born to Mary Ann Gale Gotch and Thomas Henry Gotch (born 1805), who was a shoe maker.  He had an elder brother, John Alfred Gotch, who was a successful architect and author.

In 1881 he married fellow art student Caroline Burland Yates (1854-1945) at Newlyn's St Peter’s Church. His daughter, Phyllis Marian Gotch was sometimes a model for her father. After completing his studies, Gotch travelled to Australia in 1883. Gotch and his wife settled in Newlyn, Cornwall in 1887. The couple and their daughter were key participants in the Newlyn art colony.

In addition to his time spent in France and Belgium while studying art, Gotch also travelled to Austria, Australia, South Africa, Italy and Denmark.

Thomas Cooper Gotch died in 1 May 1931 of a heart attack while in London for an exhibition, and he was buried in Sancreed churchyard in Cornwall.

With his parents support in 1876 and 1877, he first studied at Hetherlies art school in London and then at Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp in 1877 and 1878. Then in 1879 Gotch attended Slade School of Fine Art* with Alphonse Legros in London. Gotch met his friend Henry Scott Tuke and his future wife Caroline Yates at Slade. After their marriage, Thomas and Caroline studied in Paris at Académie Julian* and Académie Lauren* in the early 1880s. It was in Paris that he adoped the plein-aire* approach of painting outdoors.

In Newlyn he founded the Newlyn Industrial Classes, where the local youth could learn the arts & crafts. He also helped to set up the Newlyn Art Gallery, and served on its committee all his life. Among his friends in Newlyn was fellow artist Stanhope Forbes and Albert Chevallier Tayler.

In Newlyn, like other art colony artists, he used the plein-aire approach for making paintings outdoors. He was also inspired by James McNeill Whistler's techniques for creating compositions and paintings.

His style changed following a 1891-1892 a visit to Paris and Florence. His works were transformed from the Newlyn "rural realistic" style to a Pre-Raphaelite style that embraced more vibrant, exuberant colours and "returned to allegorical genre painting". His first such painting was My Crown and Sceptre made in 1892.

On the provisional committee for the 1895 opening of the Newlyn Art Gallery*, Gotch exhibited The Reading Hour and A Golden Dream at the inaugural exhibition.

Over his artistic career Gotch was also a model for other artists. For instance, he modelled for illustrations of King Arthur's Wood for Elizabeth Forbes.


* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

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