Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AN ENGLISH LANDSCAPE AND MARINE PAINTER, AND GARDENER



Edward William Cooke (British, 1811-1880) was born in Pentonville, London, the son of well-known line engraver George Cooke; his uncle, William Bernard Cooke (1778-1855), was also a line engraver of note, and Edward was raised in the company of artists. He was a precocious draughtsman and a skilled engraver from an early age, displayed an equal preference for marine subjects and published his 'Shipping and Craft' – a series of accomplished engravings – when he was 18, in 1829. He benefited from the advice of many of his father’s associates, notably Clarkson Stanfield (whose principal marine follower he became) and David Roberts. Cooke began painting in oils in 1833, took formal lessons from James Stark in 1834 and first exhibited at the Royal Academy and British Institution in 1835, by which time his style was essentially formed.
(Wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org)


The Undercliff at Bonchurch Isle Of Wight
From xaxor.com


He went on to travel and paint with great industry at home and abroad, indulging/feeding his love of the 17th-century Dutch marine artists with a visit to Holland in 1837. He returned regularly over the next 23 years, studying the effects of the coastal landscape and light, as well as the works of the country's Old Masters, resulting in highly successful paintings. He went on to travel in Scandinavia, Spain, and North Africa and, above all, to Venice.
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich at nmm.ac.uk)
Edward Cooke arrived in Rome with his sister Laura on December 23rd 1845. Except for a two week excursion to Tivoli, he remained in the city until May the following year. Rome was an unusual destination for a marine painter, and Cooke wrote to his family stating that he was 'taking it coolly' and adding that he had 'intended to paint one or two pictures for the Academy whilst here but it was impossible - 1st because I have been out of spirits and poorly, 2ndly the multitude of objects of intense interest have so completely seized all my thoughts since I left Genoa and the sea, that I seem for a time to have lost all my impressions of marine subjects and effects'.
(RA COLLECTIONS at racollection.org.uk)


Vesuvius, Catalan and Paranzella
Oil on canvas, 1847
Private collection
From ARC at artrenewal.org


Dutch Yachting on the Zuider Zee, 1848
From NMM, Greenwich at nmm.ac.uk


Above, the artist has shown a Dutch man-of-war on the horizon to the left, port-broadside on, with small coastal craft sailing in front of it through waves caused by the fresh breeze. The vessel in the centre foreground of the picture is probably a boeier, a round Dutch craft with a deep rail and a curved spoon bow, with two sailors looking out to the left towards the man-of-war, leaning right into the wind. Immediately behind to the right is a yacht flying the Dutch flag and pennant. More shipping can be seen on the horizon to the far right.
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich at nmm.ac.uk)
E. W. Cooke first visited in Venice on August 26th 1850, recording in his diary that 'when the boat entered the Grand Canal, after passing the Salute the Moon rose and revealed the glories of the scene...the Piazza exceeded all that I could possibly have imagined'. The city was particularly captivating to an artist like Cooke who revelled in painting seascapes and boats as well as landscapes and topographical scenes. He returned to Venice on many subsequent sketching trips, making his last visit in 1877. Cooke made a particular study of the variety of different vessels to be found on the waterways of the city, displaying an understanding of their structure which is not necessarily evident in the work of other artists who specialized in Venetian subjects.
(RA COLLECTIONS at racollection.org.uk)


The Lagoon of Venice
Oil on canvas, 1853
Private collection
From ARC at artrenewal.org


The Pier and Bay Of St. Ives, Cornwall
Oil on canvas, 1853
Private collection
From ARC at artrenewal.org


A North Sea Breeze on the Dutch Coast, 1855
From NMM, Greenwich at nmm.ac.uk


Inspired by Dutch 17th-century marine painters, the artist was very interested in creating scenes of Holland and Dutch shore life. He gave this work, above, the secondary title, 'Scheveling fishermen hauling the 'pinck' out of the surf'. In it he has included Scheveningen church tower in reference to the earlier masters, who often included it as a landmark. Scheveningen, on the northern tip of the Hague on the North Sea coast, has a wide beach very suitable for operating fishing pinks.
The man in the foreground to the left carries the anchor ashore over his right shoulder and holds the shore-line attached to the boat in his left hand. The Dutch vessel which dominates the picture is in port-quarter view and the artist has created the impression of wind through the surf and flapping sails. A pink was a small but substantial Dutch fishing vessel rigged with a square mainsail and sometimes with a square foresail on a small mast in the eyes of the boat. They were broad and flat-bottomed to assist stability and beaching and a substantial fleet of them were associated with Scheveningen. One man in the water holds the rope controlling the boat as he prepares to haul it ashore. There are eight men in the boat, which is pitched at an acute angle, and they lower the sails and are busy with its landing, with two other figures in the surf. The artist has invested this commonplace fishing scene with the drama of human struggle against the elements. The rigging and other gear is carefully observed.
The artist made his basic studies in the open air and on his visit to Holland in 1855, the year of this painting, he recorded in his diary for October that the sea was very rough and that he 'pottered about the strand, (and) got some sketches'.
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich at nmm.ac.uk


Trabaccoli Carrying Wood
Oil on canvas, 1859
Private collection
From ARC at artrenewal.org


E. W. Cooke left England in September 1860, travelling through France with another artist, Robert Bateman. On reaching Marseilles they boarded a steamer to Barcelona and then took another boat which sailed to Tortosa via Monserrat and Tarragona. Cooke and his companion then travelled overland to Valencia and Madrid also visiting Alicante, Murcia and Cartagena. By January 30th they had reached Granada where Cooke stayed for over two weeks before taking an excursion to Gibraltar and Tangiers.
(RA COLLECTIONS at racollection.org.uk)


A Calm Day on the Scheldt, 1870
Private Collection
Source the-athenaeum.org


Steeple Rock, Kynance Cove, Lizard, Cornwall, Low Water
Oil on canvas, 1873
Provenance Mr Blockow Esq., London1891
Purchased by Lord Michelham, Hamptons, 1926
From ARC at at artrenewal.org


E. W. Cooke visited Egypt in the winter of 1873-4, travelling to Brindisi where he boarded the Simla steamer. En route he met John Fowler and Richard Owen and travelled with them for part of the way. All three stayed in Alexandria in early January before Cooke set off down the Nile on a dahabieh (or houseboat) named the Queen Victoria, visiting Feshan, Sohag, Luxor, Karnak, Aswan and various other sites on the way. Cooke sketched as he sailed down the river, and his drawings demonstrate his particular interests in botany and in the variety of sailing vessels to be found on the Nile. According to John Munday, Cooke's 'pencil studies of Egyptian subjects (there is a good example in the Royal Academy collection) show his careful assembly of references, the architecture, palm trees, grouping of figures, camels, boats and landscape, are of course drawn with possible future needs in mind. He worked at his oil sketches in uncomfortable conditions and his scientific interests dictated some of the subjects'.
(RA COLLECTIONS at racollection.org.uk)


View Of St. Agnes, Scilly Isles, 1880
Source artrenewal.org
From Wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org


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 forty- seven 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…..
(Art Journal, 1869, manuscript notes in the British Museum, from WIKISOURCE at en.wikisource.org)


Gosport, flag ship saluting
Engraving and etching
Source Emmet Collection of Manuscripts
From NYPL Digital Library at digitalgallery.nypl.org

Cooke was an extremely accomplished draughtsman of ships, their gear and rigging, hull shapes and characteristics as well as of architectural subjects. The thousands of sketches made in the course of his working life were mounted on cards filed in solander boxes in his studio by subject giving a formidable reference library which to call when wanting details for paintings. He died in 1880
(JERSEY HERITAGE TRUST at jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je)

Note: I found these images (above) from all over the web. If you own a photo’s copyright and think this page violates Fair Use, please contact me.


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