Cooke, George (1781-1834) (DNB00)

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COOKE, GEORGE (1781–1834), line engraver, was born in London on 22 Jan. 1781. His father was a native of Frankfort-on-the-Main, who in early life settled in England and became a wholesale confectioner. At the age of fourteen George Cooke was apprenticed to James Basire (1730-1802) [q. v.]. About the time of the expiration of his indentures was commenced the publication of Brewer's 'Beauties of England and Wales,' and for that work he executed many plates, some of them in conjunction with his elder brother, William Bernard Cooke. He was afterwards engaged upon the plates for Pinkerton's 'Collection of Voyages and Travels,' during the progress of which his brother William projected the first edition of 'The Thames,' to which George Cooke contributed two plates. This work was followed by 'Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England,' from drawings made principally by Turner. It was commenced in 1814 and completed in 1826, and for it George Cooke engraved fifteen plates nearly one-third of the whole, and some vignettes. Next appeared an improved edition of 'The Thames,' for which he engraved the 'Launch of the Nelson' and the 'Fair on the Thames,' after Luke Clennell, and the 'Opening of Waterloo Bridge,' after Reinagle.

Between 1817 and 1833 he produced, in connection with Messrs. Loddiges of Hackney, a number of plates for the 'Botanical Cabinet,' and about the same time he engraved some of the plates after Turner for Hakewill's 'Picturesque Tour of Italy,' 1820, and Sir Walter Scott's 'Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland,' 1826, in which latter work should be especially noted 'Edinburgh from the Calton Hill.' To these were added plates for Allason's 'Antiquities of Pola,' 1819, Stanhope's' 'Olympia,' 1824, and D'Oyly and Mant's 'Bible,' as well as some of those for 'Views in the South of France, chiefly on the Rhone,' after De Wint. Besides these he engraved a few plates for the publications of the Dilettanti Society, and for the ' Ancient Marbles in the British Museum,' and the 'Ancient Terracottas' in the same collection, and single plates after Turner of a 'View of Gledhow 'for Whitaker's 'Loidis and Elmete,' and 'Wentworth House' for Whitaker's 'History of Richmondshire.' He also engraved the 'Iron Bridge at Sunderland,' from an outline by Blore, for Surtees's 'History of Durham,' and the 'Monument of Sir Francis Bacon' in St. Michael's Church at St. Albans for Clutterbuck's 'History of Hertfordshire.'

In 1825 he finished his fine engraving of 'Rotterdam', from Sir A. W. Callcott's picture belonging to the Earl of Essex, and shortly afterwards he issued a prospectus announcing a series of plates from Callcott's works, of which two, 'Antwerp' and 'Dover,' were begun and considerably advanced when vexation at the loss of the proceeds of his 'Rotterdam,'caused by the failure of his agent, led to their abandonment. He then began in 1826 the 'Views in London and its Vicinity,' engraved from drawings by Callcott, Stanfield, Roberts, Prout, Stark, Harding Cotman, and Havell, and this, the favourite object of his life, ended with the twelfth number just before his death. Meanwhile in 1833 he produced 'Views of the Old and New London Bridges,' executed conjointly with his son, Edward William Cooke [q. v.], who also made the drawings. He also produced plates for Nash's 'Views in Paris,' Colonel Batty's 'Views of European Cities,' Baron Taylor's 'Spain,' Rhodes's 'Peak Scenery' and 'Yorkshire Scenery,' several for Stark's 'Scenery of the Rivers of Norfolk,' and one of 'Southampton,' after Copley Fielding, for the 'Gallery of the Society of Painters in Water Colours.'

Cooke was one of the original members of the Society of Associated Engravers, who joined together for the purpose of engraving the pictures in the National Gallery, and two plates from his hand were in a forward state at the time of his death. He likewise attempted engraving in mezzotint, and in that style executed a plate of 'Arundel Castle,' after Turner; but it was not a suc cess, and was never published. He died of brain fever 27 Feb. 1834 at Barnes, where he was buried.

[Gent. Mag. 1834, i. 658-61; Athenæum, 8 March 1834; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School, 1878.]

R. E. G.