From a family of artists, Claude was brother to the artist Charles, and a grandson of Thomas Leeson Rowbotham. He opened his studio at Upton Slip in about 1896 in Falmouth, and lived at Trevelyan, 6 Woodlane Terrace.
Best known for his aquatints based on travels around the country and abroad (Cornwall, Devon, Lake District, Italy, Yorkshire and Scotland), he first employed young women to hand-colour his prints but later invented a colour printing process. This he partially described in a lecture at the RCPS reprinted in the RCPS Proceedings for 1916.
In 1910 he also exhibited at the RCPS in the watercolour section, and was considered to have a fine talent. The family left Falmouth in 1919 for Berkshire where he continued his work. Rowbotham is a good example of an artist who is never noticed in the reference books as having an established presence in West Cornwall.
A recent correspondent (2012) has identified and described two lovely miniature paintings as exhibiting delicate and great detail, entitled (in pencil) 'At Portscatho' and 'St Just in Roseland'. She had purchased these some years ago at a sale in Wigtown, Scotland.
Another correspondent (2013) has listed the paintings held in their private collection: 'I have six watercolours signed and dated by the above named artist. All are scenes of Cornwall and apart from one have titles as follows: Storm Lelant Cornwall 1909, Evening Mylor Bridge Falmouth 1904, Falmouth Harbour 1909, Kynance Cove Cornwall 1901, Sunset St Mawes Cornwall 1909. The untitled one is signed and dated 1907.' Adding to these findings is yet another (2013) who writes from France to say about A Break in the Clouds - Lizard Downs: 'I should like to inform you that I have the above-named work by Claude Rowbotham in my possession. It was bought by my father probably in the 1950s. It is signed in pencil, undated, measures 3.5 by 2 ins (without the surround) and well preserved. A real little gem.'
This must be the year for discovering CR all over again, as a correspondent from Australia writes: 'I have just purchased an undated, framed and signed 3.5" x 2.25" etching of Mapledurham Mill by above artist, a long way from home here in Tasmania, Australia. Sadly the surround has suffered some slight water damage but that can be fixed! '
It is excellent to know that this artist's work is still be bought and treasured.
Born in Plymouth, he was educated at Plymouth Public School and King's College, London. He first exhibited with STISA in 1929, having had some success at Liverpool in the previous couple of years.
He lived at Mount Hawke, Truro, writing hundreds of articles on the history of Truro and its surrounding parishes, having made an extensive study of early Cornish newspapers. He was Secretary of the Kernow Society and was keen on archaeology, photographing nearly all the Cornish crosses.
In 1928 at NAG he exhibited The Old Pine and The Three Sisters at the Summer Show. Like Borlase SMART, he was initiated as a Bard at the Gorsedd at Roche Rock in 1933 (depicted by Herbert TRUMAN), his chosen name being Menhyryon (Long-Stones). He contributed to early editions of the Cornish Review, by which time he was serving as the representative of Cornwall on the General Committee of the Celtic Congress.
Cat Rowe studied Art History at Winchester School of Art. This was followed by an MA in Illustration at University College Falmouth. She has exhibited both within the UK and in France, and her work was featured in Cornwall Today (June 2010).
Rowe was a member of the inner circle of painters around Philip Wilson STEER, and had been with artist colonies at Quimperle and Pont Aven in 1883, before paying working visits to Walberswick in the mid 1880s. At Quimperle he met Stanhope FORBES, who wrote to him in 1884 to encourage him and his close friend Arthur Alfred BURRINGTON to take a look at Newlyn; in October, Rowe arrrived but only spent a short time before departing again.
His sending-in addresses were London (1882), Cookham Dene, Berks (1891), Rotherham, Yorks (1896) and Nottingham (1909). His Cornish titles are primarily of St Ives.
Recorded by the St Ives Times as exhibiting two small watercolours in Lanham's Gallery for the St Ives Show Day of 1924: 'two small delicate watercolours, one of shocks of barley with green cliffs beyond and a glimpse of the sea, and one of a mass of yellow and purple flowers in the foreground, with trees behind'.
At River Street, Truro, Cornwall, the Royal Cornwall Museum has a major library on the history of Cornwall, a standing exhibition relating the history of the county through its heritage collections gleaned from the land, its people and their occupations and organisations (in farming, fishing, mining & industrial discoveries and inventions and in the whole span of the visual arts). It also maintains a large permanent collection of art works, paintings and sculptures, etchings and drawings.
The museum has a major collection of photographs of Cornwall and a reasonably comprehensive archive of the Isles of Scilly. Negatives, old glass slides and prints number about 35,000, for which there are comprehensive indexes now being catalogued for on-line access. The collection is in constant demand by publishers, TV companies and the general public, the income from which allows limited money to be spent on new acquisitions so that the collection is always growing. All aspects of Cornwall are covered, topographical and industrial. Its greatest strength is the collection of Herbert HUGHES (died 1937) of Dudley, Worcestershire, who with John Charles BURROW of Camborne, a professional photographer, toured Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly annually, taking photographs as they went. The collection contains a large number of original glass negatives by Burrow of underground mining scenes, the first successful ones taken in Cornwall, some of which were published by Burrow & Thomas in 1893. The photographic section open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and prior notice is advised.