The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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George Vicat Cole, 1833-1893

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1833
Place of Birth: Portsmouth
Date of Death: 1893.04.16
Place of Death: London


George Vicat Cole was a landscape painter. He was the eldest son of the portrait, landscape and animal painter George Cole and Eliza Vicat. In 1856 he married Mary Ann Chignell. Their son Rex Vicat Cole was also a landscape painter.


Cole began his career working in his father's studio in Portsmouth, copying engravings after Turner, Constable and Cox. He also accompanied his father on sketching tours, visiting the Moselle region in 1851. He specialised in harvesting and river scenes set in the English countryside, for example Harvest Time (1860; Bristol Museum and Art Gallery), which was obviously influenced by the art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His later landscapes, for example Heart of Surrey (1874; Manchester City Art Galleries), were broader in treatment. In 1879 he was commissioned by William Agnew to paint a series of 25 views of the Thames for engraving, for example, The Pool of London (1888; Tate Gallery, London), which was praised by Gladstone and purchased by the Chantrey Bequest. The project was not completed.

Cole made his debut at the British Institution in 1852 and at the Royal Academy in 1853. In 1858 he was elected a member of the Society of British Artists, a society that was to appoint JW its President in 1886. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1870, becoming a full member in 1880.


Bénézit, E., Dictionaire critique et documentaire des peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, Paris, 1960; Johnson, J. and A. Greutzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Barringer, T. J., The Cole Family: Painters of the English Landscape, 1838–1975, Portsmouth, 1988; Chignell, R., The Life and Paintings of Vicat Cole, RA, 3 vols, London, 1896; McConkey, Kenneth, Memory and Desire: Painting in Britain and Ireland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, Aldershot, 2002; Postle, Martin, with Timothy J. Barringer, 'George Vicat Cole', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 02 April 2003).