The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Isabella Fowke, 1850-1929

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1850.08.12
Place of Birth: Kensington, London
Date of Death: 1929.01.30
Place of Death: South Kensington, London


Isabella Langdale Fowke, née Cole, was the the wife of Frank Rede Fowke. She was the daughter of Henry Cole and the sister of Alan Summerley Cole. Isabella and Frank Fowke were married in 1870. They had five children: Francis Roger Rede (1871-1904), Isabella Louisa Marian Dorothy (b. and d. 1874), Joyce Audrey Rede (1877-1930, m. Count Ostrorog), Joan Lettice (b. 1885) and Olive Summerley Rede (b. 1885).


Whistler and Isabella Fowke presented Twenty Minutes under the Umbrella at the Albert Hall on 26 February 1876. Isabella's brother, A. S. Cole, attended rehearsals on 21 and 24 February as well as the first performance, and wrote on 28 February, 'Paragraph in Daily News on Whistler and Isabella's performance. In evening last performance. Walked home with Whistler who was elated with his performance.' The theatricals were held in aid of Mrs Bing's crèche at St Peter's Country Gardens (#03432).

Whistler appears to have begun a portrait of Isabella Fowle in 1872, but the painting no longer exists, if it was ever finished (#00138).

In 1901 Isabella Fowke and her husband were living in Chelsea and he was registered as the Assistant Secretary of the Board of Education.


UK Census, 1901; (accessed 2003).