Sunday, May 08, 2022

Who painted this? #64

I was very glad to find there are still people out there who remember Who Painted This?" and hopefully this will now become a Sunday morning challenge for the visual memory and brain cells!

The answer to  #63 is below this week's challenge along with the names of who got it right. There were three 'entries' and every one of them got it right - but there was also a very clear "best answer".

But first this week's art history challenge.....

Who painted this? #64

The first time I saw this painting I was absolutely bowled over by it. Some of you may also have seen it - but can you remember where and when?

If you think about it, you've got a number of clues as to:
  • time period
  • location
  • artist.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #64

Don't forget - there are rules to how "Who painted this?" works - and these are detailed in THE RULES for participating in this challenge.

This is about using brains not technology - so please do NOT "cheat". 

Briefly, in your comment ON THIS POST you must tell me ALL of the following:
  • the title of the artwork
  • the name of the artist who created this artwork
  • the date it was created
  • the media used
  • where it lives now
  • how you know all this eg how did you do your search
  • anything else you can find out about the artwork and/or artist
The Winner is the first identifiable person (i.e. no anonymous guesses) who, in my judgement, is the first person to get to the answer by fair means AND provides the best quality answer in terms of added details about the artwork and artist

Remember also
  • no use of Google image search or Tineye to find the image allowed - this is a traditional web search of images using words only plus "hit the books" time
  • I don't publish the comments until next week's post.
i.e. comments are being opened up again - but ONLY for this weekly post and comments on this blog post will only be published once a week - on the following Sunday.

NOTE: You can find out more about the background to "who painted this?" and the RULES on this page

Who painted this? #63

Title of the artwork:
 Mont St. Michel
Name of the artist who created this artwork:  John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)
Date it was created: between 1818 and 1830
Media used: 
Watercolour, over graphite
Where it lives now: 
British Museum and various other places e.g. Harrow School

Cotman visited Normandy several times and Mont St Michel is apparently one of the places he made a point of visiting on every trip.

The "give aways" in this painting are 

  • the colours used in the palette (which for me, on their own, spell 'Cotman') 
  • the very precise architecture - always a key characteristic of Cotman's work and 
  • the general style of painting.

The potential stumbling block is that there are a number of versions of this painting. Mine came from the one I saw at the exhibition of John Sell Cotman's drawings and paintings at Dulwich Gallery in 2012 - see Review: Cotman in Normandy - at Dulwich Picture Gallery. This version was lent by Harrow School - but you can also see a very good example in the British Museum.

I wasn't picky as to which location people said it could be found in.

Who guessed correct?

The first person to get it correct was "Loza" who provided a model answer

The watercolour painting 'Mont St Michel' was painted by John Sell Cotman in 1828. John Sell Cotman is father of John Josef Cotman - both noteworthy artists. The painting, Mont St Michel is one of many version of Mont St Michel in France. This version is housed in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery. Cotman was born in 1782 here in Norwich and died in 1842. He was a member of the Norwich school of Painters. He turned down the opportunity to continue in the family business (silk merchants and lace dealers) and headed to London to develop as an artist. Here he made friends with artists such as Turner, and Girtin and joined their sketching club, travelling and painting with them in Surrey and Wales.

Cotman maintained close links with Norfolk and although his works were not highly rated during his lifetime and earned him little money, since his death, wealthy benefactors such as the Colman's of Mustard fame bought many of his archaelogical drawings and etchings, and sketches and paintings of rural scenes and marine landscapes. Colman donated his vast collection to the Norwich Castle Museum where a permanent exhibition space is dedicated to his works and are well worth a visit to see. Like Turner, John Sell Cotman is now considered in the highest esteem for his sensitive draughtsmanship and as a natural colourist. NB. Cotman painted in oils up and until 1822 when he returned to painting in watercolours inspired by JWM Turner. Cotman loved his native Norfolk and was keen to paint the archeology, landscapes, seascapes and people of northern France to show how what Norfolk had in common with the French region.

Others who got the correct answer were:

  • Sue Smith
  • Theresa

Who Painted This? was a regular weekly challenge on Making A Mark, usually posted on Friday. This page contains:
  • the rules for how to participate in "Who painted this?"
  • how to enter (via a comment on the blog post)
  • what happens to comments
  • a list of the Who painted this? in order so that you or you friends can participate in the challenge even after the result has been published


  1. The Artistic ActuarySunday, May 08, 2022

    Non anonymous comment this time. This looks strangely familiar and I'm wondering whether it's a painting by James Gurney that appears in his book on light and colour. I have no idea about the answers to the other questions and won't cheat.

  2. Dame Laura Knight
    Oil on canvas
    RAF Cranwell , at a guess
    Imperial War Museum, perhaps, if not
    All guesswork and probably wrong.

  3. This oil painting is 'Take-off, by Laura Knight, and is at the Imperial War Museum. I recognised her distinctive style immediately, and also knew she was a war artist, so it was easy to locate the painting via the official Laura Knight website.

  4. Dame Laura Knight’s ‘Take Off’ painted in 1944. Oil on canvas, which is in the Imperial War Museum, London.
    A photograph of the painting was sent to the navigator’s mother when Dame Laura hear of the navigator’s death.
    The painting was done at RAF Mildenhall in East Anglia. It is of a Stirling bomber which was about to be made obsolete and replaced by the Lancaster.
    All information is from Caroline Fox’s book on Dame Laura Knight

  5. This painting is Take Off, by Dame Laura Knight. I recognised it straight away as being by her, after seeing a wonderful exhibition of her paintings in the National Portrait Gallery, when in London some years ago. I didn't remember the name of the painting, but remembered seeing it and several other wartime images in the same style. It is now in the Imperial War Museum, and is an oil on canvas, painted in 1943. Sadly, the navigator in this painting was killed in action. Laura Knight was well known before the war for her paintings of ballet dancers and gypsies among other subjects and after the war she painted at the Nuremburg trials. She was also an excellent portrait painter. I googled Laura Knight war paintings to find out the additional details on this work.

  6., May 09, 2022

    Dame Laura Knight, 1944, The cockpit of a Lancaster bomber

  7. The painting is 'Take Off' by Dame Laura Knight. Oil on Canvas. Painted in 1943. Now in the Imperial War Museum.
    I didn't manage to get to see the recent Laura Knight exhibition in Milton Keynes, so don't know if it was included ... it probably was.
    I knew immediately it was by Laura Knight, so googled "Dame Laura Knight bomber crew" and found it straight away.
    It depicts the crew of a Stirling Mk3 Bomber.

  8. Ah, I think you are being a little kind with this quest, or it was my lucky day! I found this painting on your blog post from 2019 after my search on Google, "War Artists WW2", resulted in the first hit being "The War Artists of World War II", your blog post commemorating the 80th year since war was declared on Germany by the UK, France, New Zealand and Australia. And there was the painting.

    This of course led me to (again) your blog about the artist, Dame Laura Knight, a wonderfully comprehensive "essay" you wrote in 2013.

    The painting is "Take Off", produced by Laura Knight in 1943/4. An oil painting some 1.8 by 1.5 metres. An assumption that the painting would now be housed at the Art collection of the Imperial War Museum proved correct and a description there of the painting states:

    "The interior of a Stirling Mk3 bomber with the four man crew readying for take-off. Two pilots sit in the cockpit, the navigator busies himself with his maps and the wireless operator, bearing the insignia of a Flight Sergeant, turns a dial on the wireless unit."

    There would actually have been 7 crew in all on a Stirling Mk3 Bomber, first and second pilot, navigator/bomb aimer, front gunner/WT operator, two air gunners and flight engineer.

    Wikipedia suggets the navigator shown in the painting is described as Raymond Frankish Escreet, killed on March 21st, 1945, when as Flight Lieutenant his Lockheed Hudson crashed near Maulusmühle. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal two years before his death (as mentioned in the Supplement to the London Gazette, 15th June 1943). (Some websites erroneously stating he was killed before Knight's painting was completed.) In the details of the crash, and at the memorial monument at the scene of the crash, he is described as Wireless Operator, hence I believe he is the radio/wireless operator in Knight's painting, not the navigator.

    Please see the following for a great illustrated talk about the artist,

  9. This is a painting by Dame Laura Knight, and instantly recognizable as such in my view. From that is was a short hop to Art UK which confirmed authorship and told me that is is now housed in the Imperial War Museum, which would have been my first guess anyway. It was part of her work as a war artist, alongside the more well-known image of 'Ruby Loftus screwing a breech ring', and was painted in oils in 1943. For me this was much easier than the last Who Painted This challenge where i didn't know where to start!
    My name is Matthew Sewell, email, and your blog system will not allow me to enter those details above, unfortulately. Hence the 'anonymous' entry!

  10. #64 Dame Laura Knight - Take Off 1943

    I recently visited Nottingham, Laura Knight's birthplace. There's an exhibition of her work at Nottingham Castle. She was commissioned as a war artist during World War 2. I first saw this work at the National Portrait Gallery in London, but I think it belongs to The Imperial War Museum. I assume, like most of her work it's painted in oils.


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