Edward William Cooke, R.A. (1811-1877)
The Salute and the Dogana from the Guidecca
Signed l.l.: E.W. Cooke RA./14 Oc4.1877, inscribed below and above with locations, pencil
15.8 x 26.8 cm; 6 ¼ x 10 ½ inches
Edward William Cooke spent ten seasons in Venice from 1850-1877, entranced by the city’s architecture like so many artists before and after him. Rowed by his gondolier, Vincenzo Grilla, Cooke found innumerable subjects to explore. As John Munday observes, ‘What marine painter, worth his salt, could ignore the call of the Serenissima? Certainly not Edward Cooke, for her waterways fringed by palaces and churches of a unique style reflecting moving colour and light were thronged by a fascinating variety of working craft. Further, the islands in the lagoons were set against a mountainous backdrop and were subject to atmospheric effects which could be theatrical. What more, to his taste, could any place offer?’ (John Munday, Edward William Cooke: 1811-1880, Woodbridge 1996, p. 151).
Cooke’s views of Venice earned the enthusiastic praise of his contemporaries, including John Ruskin.
The Royal Academy, London has a collection of Cooke’s pencil sketches which illustrate in depth the quality of his draughtsmanship.