- Museum number
Coast scene with partly clothed skeleton and four crows. late 1770s
Watercolour, with pen and black ink
- Production date
Height: 273 millimetres
Width: 422 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Drawing formerly in an album (1975,U.1591.1-37) located in the Keeper's Room, 198.c.10.
Etched by Thomas Rowlandson.
Perhaps a pair with Mortimer's 'Fish devouring shell food', formerly in the Oppé collection, now in Tate Britain (T09124).
Mortimer was regarded by many of his contemporaries (and also probably by himself) as a latter-day Salvator Rosa, both in his choice of subject matter, which was often bizarre - "Representations of Banditti or of the transactions recorded in history, wherein the exertions of soldiers are principally employed, as also incantations, the frolics of monsters, and all those kind of scenes, that personify "Horrible Imaginings'" (Edward Edwards, 'Anecdotes of Painters', 1808, p.63) - and in his way of life, which was said to be "intemperate". His fascination with the macabre and exotic give his work a powerfully imaginative quality quite unlike that of most of his contemporaries, with the exception of Fuseli (who is said to have disliked him intensely) and, slightly later, Blake. Mortimer's few landscape drawings reveal the same predilection for horrific subjects. This example comes from the important collection of his drawings assembled by Richard Payne Knight. A similar subject by Mortimer, 'A Skeleton on a Seashore' (BM, 1981,0124.3) was reproduced, c. 1771, in one of the first aquatints made in England, by Peter Perez Burdett (c. 1735-93).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours, no.38
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Other BM number: 1975,U.1591.37