Cotes, Francis (1726-1770) by Scholes, Robert

Francis Cotes (1726 – 1770) The following sketch comes from the web page of Maritime Art Greenwich: “English painter, born in London on 20 May 1726. His father was an apothecary, while his younger brother Samuel (1734–1818) was also destined to become an artist. He trained under George Knapton (1698–1778), a successful portrait painter. Soon after, Cotes became established as a highly fashionable painter. He concentrated on portraits in pastel and crayon, which are generally high quality and appealing works. He frequently had engravings made after his portraits, which enabled them to reach a far greater public and gain him widespread recognition. Cotes extended his working practice to incorporate oil painting, resulting in some successful works, such as the portrait of Taylor White (1753; National Maritime Museum, London). By the 1770s he was referred to as the most fashionable portrait painter in London and to increase his output he employed Peter Toms, a drapery painter. Successful and established, Cotes was among the founding members of the Royal Academy and he went on to become Director of the Society of Artists, at whose shows he had exhibited since 1760. He married in 1765 but died in London five years later, on 16 July 1770.”

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