Thomas Cooper Gotch - 1854 - 1931
Born in Kettering in Northamptonshire, Tom Gotch left school to work at his familys boot & shoe business before embarking on his artistic career. He began his formal art training at Heatherleys Art School in 1876, aged 21, and entered the Slade in 1879 where he became a close friend of the painter Henry Scott Tuke.
At the instigation of his future wife, fellow artist and Slade student, Caroline Burland Yates, Gotch and Tuke first visited Newlyn in 1879. Tom and Carrie returned to marry at St Peters Church in Newlyn in 1881, but then both resumed their studies in Paris at Julians and Laurens Academies and they did not become resident in Newlyn until 1887.
At first Gotch adopted the Newlyners rural realist style, but in 1891 they wintered in Florence which marked a change in the style of his work to incorporate a joyous sense of colour. Many of his later works are influenced by the resurgence of interest in mediaevalism and resemble Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Of these, probably his most famous work is Alleluia 1896 (Tate Britain).
Gotch frequently used local models in his works, including his own daughter, Phyllis, who was famed in later life for her leading role in stopping the Newlyn slum clearances. Gotch also modelled for his artist friends, and is the model for King Arthur in Elizabeth Forbes illustrated book King Arthurs Wood.
For further information, see 'The Golden Dream: A Biography of Thomas Cooper Gotch', Pamela Lomax, published by Sansom & Co.