Cooke, Edward William (DNB00)

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COOKE, EDWARD WILLIAM (1811–1880), marine painter, son of George Cooke [q. v.], the line engraver, was born at Pentonville, London, 27 March 1811. At an early age he exercised his love for art by copying animals engraved in Barr's edition of Buffon and Bewick's woodcuts. When he was nine years of age he was employed, although at school at Woodford, in drawing upon wood plants from nature, in the nursery grounds of Loddidge's, at Hackney, to illustrate John Loudon's 'Encyclopaedia of Plants.' These were followed by others, afterwards published in the 'Botanical Cabinet' (1817) by Loddidge, whose daughter Cooke married. About 1825 he made the acquaintance of Clarkson Stanfield, R.A., and made sketches of boats, anchors, &c., after him. In order to increase his acquaintance with ships, he studied under Captain Burton of the Thetis. He now tried oil-painting, and in 1825 produced the sign of the 'Old Ship Hotel' at Brighton. He then began to study architecture under Augustus Pugin, but soon gave this up for the study of boats, and etched two series of plates entitled 'Coast Sketches' and 'The British Coast.' In 1826, Cooke was sketching about Cromer. In this year he painted a 'View of Broadstairs', his first picture purchased by Mr. James Wodmore, a well-known collector, and at whose sale it realised 78l.

Several other pictures followed, amongst which were 'The Isis at Oxford ' and 'The Isle of Wight Coast.' Between 1825 and 1831, when the new London Bridge was being constructed, Cooke made seventy drawings of the operations, most of which were engraved and published,with scientific and historical notices of the two bridges, from information contributed by George Rennie (Lond. fol. 1833). About this period he made numerous draw ings for Mr. Edward Hawkins of the British Museum, illustrating the various aspects of the Egyptian galleries while the antiquities were being removed from thee old to the new building. In 1830 Cooke went to Normandy, Havre, Rouen, &c., and in 1832 he executed a series of pencil drawings for Earl de Grey. Between 1832 and 1844 he travelled in Belgium, Holland (which he visited sixteen times), France, Scotland, Ireland, and other places. The years 1845 and 1846 he spent in Italy, and subsequently visited Spain, Morocco, Barbary, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1851, and a full member in 1864.

Cooke became a widower early in life, and died at his residence, Glen Andred, Groombridge, near Tunbridge Wells, on 4 Jan. 1880, leaving several sons and daughters. He was a member of various learned and scientific societies, the Alpine Club, honorary associate of the Institute of British Architects, of the Royal Academy of Stockholm, and of the Accademia delle Belle Arti, Venice. He exhibited altogether two hundred and fortyseven pictures; i.e. one hundred and twenty-nine at the Royal Academy, one hundred and fifteen at the British Institution, and three in Suffolk Street. There are by him two pictures in the National Gallery, 'Dutch Boats in Calm,' engraved by I. Jeavons, and 'The Boat-house,' engraved by S. Bradshaw.

Among his many works may be mentioned: 'Brighton Sands,' 'Portsmouth Harbour,' 'The Hulks,' 'The Victory,' 'Mount St. Michael,' 'Hastings,' 'The Antiquary Cells,' &c., all in the Sheepshanks collection, South Kensington Museum. To these should be added: 'H.M.S. Terror in the Ice of Frozen Strait,' April 1837; 'French Lugger running into Calais Harbour;' 'The Dogana and Church of Santa Maria della Salute,' Venice; and finally, the 'Goodwin Lightship Morning after a Gale,' exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1857, and much praised by Mr. Ruskin. In the department of prints and drawings, British Museum, there are two drawings by this master: 'Zuider Zee Fishing-boat,' and 'A Fisherman, with a stag on the opposite bank,' and a collection of his engraved and etched works. Sales of his remaining works, &c., took place at Christie & Manson's, 22 May 1880, and 11 March 1882.

[Art Journal, 1869, p. 253; manuscript notes in the British Museum.]

L. F.