Monday, November 4, 2013
Francis Cotes was born in London, the son of Robert Cotes, an apothecary. Cotes trained with portrait painter George Knapton (1698–1778) before setting up his own business in his father's apothecary on London's Cork Street—where he learned about chemistry for his pastels. An admirer of the pastel drawings of Rosalba Carriera, Cotes wanted to imitate his style. In the early 1740s, he began using crayons. The artist produced his1st pastels around 1747, and began using oils for larger portraits around 1757. Because we are looking at costumes in these postings, it is interesting to note that the costumes in Cotes' portraits after 1746, were usually done by Peter Toms, who also performed the same task for Joshua Reynolds. It is impossible to know if the Neoclassical & Turquerie elements in either Cotes' or Reynolds' portraits were their creation or Toms. Cotes was a networker. He helped found the Society of Artists and became its director in 1765. Cotes was invited to become one of the 1st members of the Royal Academy, but he died just 2 years later at age 44.