Karen Taylor Fine Art

Agent, Advisor and Dealer in British Art

John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)

Boats off Cologne

John Sell Cotman


Boats off Cologne
Signed and dated l.r.: .S Cotman 1832, numbered and inscribed verso: 14 Boats off Cologne, watercolour over pencil with scratching out
23.2 x 32.6 cm

Baron François Adolphe Akermann, régent of the Banque de France and his wife Louise Marie née Boquet de Saint-Simon, the Chateau de Coulonges, Rahay, Sarthe, France, by descent until 2018

The Great Saint Martin church, Cologne can be seen from the Rhine. In the late 18th century the northwestern tower was taken down and Cotman’s drawing shows the church with only two towers on the east side. After the twenty year occupation of the city from 1794 by the French, the archbishopric was ended in 1801 and the cloister at Saint Martin’s disbanded in 1802. The deserted abbey was lived in by French veterans and was later demolished.The two missing towers of the church were finally rebuilt in 1875.

This drawing, which has not been on the market since the time of its creation, comes from a friendship album started by Baron Akermann (1809-1890) for his wife Louise Marie Bouqet de Saint-Simon after their marriage in 1836. There was a vogue for such albums in the nineteenth century and visitors would bring a drawing or watercolour as a symbol of friendship or to commemorate a visit. The magnificent leather bound album album contained an unmounted group of drawings and watercolours by artists such as Richard Parkes Bonington, Francia, William Wyld, Decamps, Vernet, Granville, Garneray, Coignet and others. The subjects ranged from marines to genre scenes, landscapes, still lives and interiors.

Baron François Adolphe Ackerman (1809-1890) was born in Paris and followed his grandfather and father into the world of finance becoming receveur général des Finances for the department of the Dordogne in 1834 at the age of twenty five. He was an able financier and rebuilt the family estate at Coulonges, Rahay, Sarthe also becoming mayor of Rahay. He became deputy governor of the Banque de France in December 1870 and régent of the Banque de France on 27 January 1871, holding the office until his death. He was painted by Winterhalter. He and his wife had two daughters one of whom, Henrietta, married vicomte Henri de Bouillé.

His grand father André Joseph Bernard Ackerman (1743-1824) was receveur general des finances of Namur and his father François Joseph Ackerman (1772-1833) held the same office for the department of Sambre-et-Meuse (1808-1814) and Ardennes (1815-1833).

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