Edward William Cooke

R.A., F.R.S., F.Z.S., F.S.A., F.G.S.

(27 March 1811 - 4 January 1880)

The son of George Cooke, the engraver, was born in London in 1811, and was brought up with a view of following his father's profession. He early published a set of sixty-five etched plates of 'Shipping and Craft,' views on the Thames. But in 1832, he determined to adopt oil-painting in place of engraving; and, three years later, his first works, 'Honfleur Fishing Boats' and a 'Hay-Barge, off Greenwich,' appeared at the Royal Academy. Since then, with three exceptions, 1839, 1846, and 1874, there was not a single exhibition up to that of 1879, which did not contain one or more of his works. To forty-one exhibitions he contributed one hundred and thirty works, all well thought out and carefully executed. In 1851, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, and in 1864, he was made an Academician. He also contributed many works to the Britiah Institution, and frequently painted in water-colour: the South Kensington Museum holds a collection of his works in this medium. He was a fellow of the Royal, the Geographical, the Geological, and the Linniean Societies. He died at Groombridge, near Tunbridge Wells, in 1880.

His paintings generally represent views on the Thames, the Medway, and the English coast; but they also include scenes from Holland and France, and even so far afield as Morocco and the lagoons of Venice.

We need mention but few:

Dutch Boats in a calm. 1844. In the National Gallery.
The Boat-House. In the National Gallery.
Lobster Pots. 1836.
Brighton Sands.
Mending the Bait Nets, Shanklin. 1836.
Portsmouth Harbour, The Hulks.
Portsmouth Harbour -- The Victory.
Dutch Boats. 1837.
Dutch Boats on the Dollart Zee.
A Calm Day in the Scheldt.
A Bit of English Coast.
Catalan Bay, Gibraltar. 1863.
The Goodwin Light-Ship.
A Dutch Galliot aground.
H. M. S. Terror abandoned. 1860.
Schevening Pinks running to auchor off Tarmoath. 1864.

Bryan's Biographical and Critical Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, 1901-2

Cooke, Edward William, R. A. (Brit.) Born in London, 1811. Son of a well-known English engraver. His first professional work was for book illustrations and a series of etchings of river and coast scenery. Has devoted himself to marine-painting, executing his first picture in oil in 1832. Has sketched and painted in Holland, France, and Italy. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1851, and Academician in 1864, when he exhibited "Scheveling Pincks running to Anchor off Yarmouth," his diploma work. In 1866, he exhibited "Dutch Boats on the Dollart Zee"; 1870, "A Calm Day on the Scheldt" 1871, "A Bit of English Coast"; 1872, "Hastings Luggers coming ashore in a Breeze"; 1876, "A Zuyder-Zee Fishing-Haven"; 1877, "A Bit of Bonchurch in the Olden Time"; 1878, "A Dutch Galliot aground on a Sand- Bank" and "Fishing Lugger coming ashore in a Gale."

Of Cooke's earlier works, his "Dutch Boats in a Calm," exhibited at the British Institute in 1844, and his "Boat-House" (both in the Vernon Collection), are now in the National Gallery, London. His "Brighton Sands," "Lobster-Pots," "Portsmouth Harbor," and others, are in the Sheepshanks Collection. His "Goodwin Lightship" was at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, and belongs to Thomas Brassey, Esq., M. P.

Artists of the Nineteenth Century and their Works; A Handbook containing Biographical Sketches. By Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.