Steel engraving, The fishermans cave, after E.W. Cooke


19th century steel engraving after a painting by Edward Cooke. The image is 23.5 x 19.5 cm in size and is in a large passe partout. The print is in perfect condition.

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Cooke was born in Pentonville, London, the son of the famous engraver George Cooke; his uncle, William Bernard Cooke (1778-1855), was also a well-known engraver. Edward grew up in the company of artists. He was a precocious draftsman and a skilled engraver, he sooner preferred marine subjects (especially sailing ships) and published his “Shipping and Craft” – a series of well-known engravings – when he was 18, in 1829 He took advantage of the advice from many of his father’s associates, notably Clarkson Stanfield (whose most important marine follower he became) and David Roberts. Cooke started painting in oil in 1833, took formal lessons from James Stark in 1834 and exhibited for the first time in 1835 at the Royal Academy, when his style was essentially shaped. He traveled and painted extensively at home and abroad and acquired his love for the 17th-century Dutch maritime artists with a visit to the Netherlands in 1837. He regularly returned in the next 23 years and studied the effects of the coast, the landscape and the light. This resulted in very successful paintings such as ‘Beaching a Pink at Scheveningen’ (National Maritime Museum, London), which he exhibited in 1855 at the Royal Academy, of which he was an assistant from 1851. He traveled further in Scandinavia, Spain, North Africa and especially to Venice. In 1858 he was elected to the National Academy of Design as an Honorary Academician.

Cooke “was mainly attracted by the Isle of Wight, and during his formative visit in 1835 he made a thorough study of his fishing boats and lobster pots, especially he was delighted by the beaches strewn with different types of rocks, fishing gear, breakwaters and small ones wooden piers.

He was also very interested in geology and was a Fellow of the Linnean Society, Fellow of the Geological Society and Fellow of the Zoological Society, and of the Society of Antiquaries. In the 1840s he helped his friend, the horticulturist, James Bateman, and designed the gardens at Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire, particularly the orchids and rhododendrons. His geological interests in particular led to his election as Fellow of the Royal Society in 1863 and he became a Royal Academician the following year. In 1842, John Edward Gray named a kind of boa, Corallus cookii, in Cooke’s honor.