yeovil people

Samuel Colman

Romantic landscape artist


Samuel Colman was born in Yeovil in September 1780, the son of Robert and Mary Colman. He was baptised at the Independent chapel, Princes Street, on 12 August 1813 at the age of 33. Just a few weeks later, at St John's church (a legal requirement for Dissenters), he married Mary Cayme, the youngest daughter of James Cayme the elder, a dowlas and ticking maker with a manufacturing facility in Grope Lane, today's Wine Street. Both the local newspapers - the Western Flying Post and the Dorchester & Sherborne Journal - printed marriage notices simply describing Samuel as "Mr Colman, artist".

It would appear that Samuel and Mary soon moved to Bristol and in 1816 he was advertising himself as a portrait painter and drawing master in Bristol trade directories. They lived in Paul Street, off Portland Square and about 1826 they had a son, William Scott Colman, who died two years later and was buried in the Quaker cemetery at Friars, Bristol. It is unknown how many other children they had but only two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, were named in Samuel's will, dated 1841 and inferring that the girls were aged under 21 at that time.

Both Samuel and Mary were active members of the Zion Congregational Church (now Zion United Reformed Church) and Samuel was signatory to the letter sent by the Zion congregation in 1835 to Rev David Thomas asking him to become pastor of Zion. By this time Samuel was aged 53 and was clearly a well-respected member of his congregation.

Although he exhibited three times in Bristol, with little publicity or apparent appreciation, in 1839 and at the age of 58, he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time, showing Flowerpiece, now lost. The following year he exhibited Sunday Morning, Going to Church.

Samuel moved his family to London and in the 1841 census he and Mary were listed living at Claude Cottage, Lambeth, with their daughter Elizabeth and a domestic servant. Samuel listed his occupation simply as 'Artist'.

Colman's painting style is of the Bristol School of Romantic landscapes, and he specialised in apocalyptic paintings, drawing comparison to fellow painter John Martin. As a Nonconformist, his painted works often took aim at the Church of England. He signed his works as both Colman and Coleman.

Samuel Colman died at 20 Cottage Grove, New Peckham, London, on 21 January 1845. The Times simply carried a two-line notice of his death but Samuel was clearly still remembered in Yeovil as the notice of his death was inserted in the Sherborne, Dorchester and Taunton Journal on 30 January 1845.


The last Will and Testament of Samuel Colman



This is the last Will and Testament of me Samuel Colman of Claude Cottage S(t) Anns Road North Brixton in the County of Surrey Artist I give and bequeath unto my friends Samuel Fox of Tottenham near London and James Foster of 64 Broad Street London Stock Broker their Executors Administrators and assigns all and singular my household furniture plate china pictures books linen and woolen upon trust to (word illegible) my dear wife Mary to have the use of the same for and during the term of her natural life or until she shall marry again but on either of these events happening there upon trust for my two daughters Elizabeth Colman and Mary Calborough Colman share and share alike as tenants in common and all the Residue and Remainder of my property (amount ?) in the funds and other effects which I shall be possessed of or be (word illegible) unto at my decease I give and bequeath the same unto my said Trustees Samuel Fox and James Foster their Executors Administrators and Assigns upon trust for them to collect in and convert the same into money as soon as convenient and after paying (word illegible) all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses to invest the amount in the purchase of parliamentary stocks or funds of Great Britain or to place the same out upon (war ?) securities at Interest in their or his names or name and again from time to time to call in change and vary the securities for the same as they or he shall think proper and stand possessed thereof upon trust to pay and apply the net amount and produce arising from the remainder of my said property unto my wife for and during the term of her natural life or until her marriage again and from and after either of such events In trust to divide pay deliver and transfer suck stocks funds and activities with the dividends Interest and proceeds unto and equally between my said two daughters share and share alike as tenants in common provided that if either of my said daughters shall depart this life in the life time of their Mother or before either of them shall arrive at the age of twenty one years or day of marriage then I will and direct that her share of all my furniture and all other my property aforesaid shall go to and be enjoyed by the survivor of my said daughters immediately after my said wifes death or marriage again provided also that if both my said daughters die unmarried and without having lawful issue then I give and bequeath the whole of my property from and after my wifes death unto and between my Nephews and Nieces the children of my wifes sister Elizabeth Moore of Sherborne Dorset and my wifes Brother James Cayme the younger of Yeovil share and share alike as tenants in common and I hereby direct that my said Trustees shall deduct and retain all costs charges and expences attending those trusts aforesaid and that neither of them shall be answerable or liable for the acts payments receipts and defaults of the other of them nor for any more amounts than shall actually come to their respective hands nor be answerable for any loss or damage happening to the trust monies and effects aforesaid and lastly I do hereby appoint the said *

* (margin note) Samuel Fox and James Foster joint Executors in trust of this my last Will and Testament in witness thereof I the said Testator

Samuel Colman have hereunto set my hand and seal this eighteenth day of the ninth month one thousand eight hundred and forty one - Samuel Colman - signed sealed published and declared by the said Testator Samuel Colman as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses - Joseph Good Carlton Terrace Brixton Surrey - William Love 5 Carlton Terrace Brixton Surrey

On the 3rd March 1845 Admon with the will annexed of the Goods chattels and credits of Samuel Colman formerly of Claude Cottage Saint Annes Road Brixton but late of No 20 Cottage Grove New Peckham both in the County of Surrey Artist deceased was granted to Mary Colman Widow the Relict the universal legatee for life or during widowhood having been first sworn duly to (word illegible) Samuel Fox and James Foster execs and universal legatees in trust named in the said will having first (words illegible) as well the probate and execution of the said will as the letters of admon with the said will annexed of the goods of the said deceased as by acts of them appears.


Transcribed by Bob Osborn 




The entry of Samuel Colman's baptism of 12 August 1813 in the Yeovil Nonconformist Register.


Samuel Watts, Solicitor
Community Heritage Access Centre, Yeovil

Samuel Colman and Samuel Watts were related by marriage - Samuel Watts' sister, Grace, being married to Mary Colman's brother, James Cayme the Younger.