Founded 1943

AGM and General Meeting

John Sell Cotman and John Crome: Material Sensibilities

A Talk by Rose Miller

Wednesday 9th July 2014

Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queens’ Square, London, WC1N 3AT

Doors 6.30, AGM 7.00pm, talk at 7.30pm

Nearest tube: Russell Square


Research has shown that these masters of British landscape had a particular understanding of their painting materials and methods. Cotman and Crome’s common use of coarse or recycled materials often resulted in paintings that show a disregard for the decorum of surface, but their paintings are not simply the result of poverty and homemade brushes (as previously perceived). They were skilfully manipulating their materials, and with them, exploring their material surroundings — their landscape.


This talk will explore two phenomena: the presence of drying cracks in the oil paintings of Cotman, and the visual effect of open weave canvas in those by Crome. It will suggest that what could be read as drying problems should in some cases be seen as drying effects, and what might appear to be varnish residues caught in the troughs of the canvas is an intentional visual device.


Rose Miller studied conservation of easel paintings at the Courtauld (2005–08) before an internship at the Hamilton Kerr Institute (2009–11). This talk results from research that started as her Courtauld student project, and was further pursued in a curatorial research project (2011–13), funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, based at the Hamilton Kerr Institute and in collaboration with Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. She now works in private studios in London.


Entry is free of charge to members of the BAPCR, and £10 for non-members. Wine and soft drinks will be available to purchase before and after the talk. It will be possible to join the BAPCR at the door. Benefits include free entrance to BAPCR talks and discounted entry to BAPCR conferences and workshops, plus our excellent journal The Picture Restorer twice yearly.


Please email Gemma Collins our secretary at if you know you will be attending the talk, so that we can ensure enough wine and soft drinks.



The British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers works hard to promote and foster the practice of paintings conservation in the UK and around the world. We are the professional organization for conservator-restorers of paintings, and have members internationally.

Membership is restricted to practising restorers, conservation scientists, students on recognized training courses and trainees in private studios. More experienced restorer members can have applied for Fellowship, our professional qualification. Fellows would be expected to have an advanced level of competence, as well as suitable premises, sound business practice and general immersion in the field. A representative cross-section of their work was also inspected by examiners appointed by the Council of the BAPCR.

The BAPCR administers a scheme for public enquirers, to direct them to existing Fellows in their area (see ‘Find a Restorer’). They can then be confident that their artworks are in the hands of an accredited practitioner. Members receive our twice-yearly journal, the Picture Restorer, now in its twenty-second year of publication, and attend regular meetings with a guest speaker at the Art Workers Guild in Central London.