Samuel Colman (1780-1845) Samuel Colman came to Bristol from Yeovil in about 1815 and stayed until about 1840 finding work as a portrait painter and drawing master. He also produced remarkable Romantic, Biblical and genre scenes with minute detail and clear colour. In 1824 he exhibited at the Bristol Institution's first exhibition of the work of Bristol artists.
Colman was a Nonconformist and worshipped at the Castle Green Independent Chapel and the Zion Chapel in Bedminster and his faith was central to his work. The apocalyptic themes of his religious epics such as The Coming of the Messiah and the Destruction of Babylon, and the strong moral message of his genre painting, St James's Fair, suggest he may have had a Nonconformist patron. An artist would not have painted such large and complex works without a purchaser in mind. Colman was not a member of Danby, Bird and Rippingille's sketching group but he was aware of their work. He borrowed figures from their paintings in his own compositions, for example the Jewish peddler in 'St James's Fair' is very like Rippingille's in The Recruiting Party.