W E Cooke – A Quorn artist, 1843 to 1916
William Edward Cooke was a professional artist and art teacher. He was born in Derby in 1843 and in the first quarter of 1872, he married Alice Moore from Quorn. They lived in Quorn, before moving to Loughborough in 1880, where they first lived at 15 Victoria Street and then moved to Park Road. By 1891, the census return shows William and Alice living back in Quorn at Brook House, with their eleven children. Brook House stood at what is now Hall Leys, (behind the Memorial Gardens at Quorn Cross).
Although W E Cooke was not a particularly well known painter, he was sufficiently accomplished to exhibit paintings at the Royal Academy. When advertising oil and water colour lessons in 1898, he described himself as:
“During the last twenty-five years Exhibitor at the ‘Royal Academy of Arts’, ‘The Royal Society of British Artists’, ‘The Royal Institute’, ‘The Dudley Gallery’ and the principal Provisional Exhibitions”.
The ‘Royal Academy of Arts Dictionary of Contributors 1769 to 1904’ shows that he exhibited eight pictures over a period of ten years:
1876, 315, The old manor house, Clifton, Nottingham
1876, 565, The village wharf. Quorndon, Loughborough
1877, 1012, Evening
1878, 1010, Mill on the Witham
1878, 1025, The pedlar
1880, 362, Agricultural depression: the rent-day
1880, 627, At Mount Sorrel, Leicestershire
1885, 484, The farmhouse pump
In Quorn Parish magazine in January 1893, the vicar reported:
“Mr W E Cooke, of Brook House, has lately produced a handsome engraving of the West End of Peterborough Cathedral and has kindly presented a copy to be hung in the Vestry. For a time at least it shall be placed in the Church Porch so that people may get an idea of their Cathedral. But to return to the Magazine cover. We feel sure that the pretty view of the Church from the Wedding-path will be admired. We are very much obliged to Mr Cooke for designing and drawing the cover, and thus giving a new attraction to our Magazine.”
It is not known how many pictures William produced of Quorn, but including the drawing of the Church, the museum team have only come across eight. These are:
• The Church (see below)
• Old Bridge at Quorndon (School Lane)
• Quorn Kennels 1878
• At Quorn (a street scene, could possibly be Meeting Street)
• Coal Wharf Quorn 1879 (Soar Road)
• Farmyard at Quorndon
• A cottage at Quorn
• A Cottage Yard at Quorn
When William was living on Park Road, Loughborough, he produced a volume called “Views in Leicestershire”. Newspapers of the day included the following item:
“Views in Leicestershire”
A Series of Picturesque and Interesting Views in the County, drawn by
W E COOKE,
And reproduced in Lithographic Facsimile, on thick Tinted Paper, Half Imperial, and Handsomely Bound.
Price to Subscribers, One Guinea [£1.05] each. As only a limited number of the books will be issued, intending subscribers would oblige by ordering Copies that may be required as soon as possible, as the Subscription List will shortly be closed.
Subscribers names will be received by H. WILLS, The Library, Loughborough, where Specimen Sheets can be seen, or by W. E. COOKE, Park Road, Loughborough
The 1901 census shows that the Cookes had moved to 23 Morton Road, Littleham, near Exmouth in Devon. William remained in Devon until he died in 1916.
The following announcement appeared in the Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette:
“On May 11th at his residence, Shobrooke, Crediton, William Edward Cooke, late of Brooke House, Quorn, Leicestershire, aged 73 years.”
1891 Census, Brook House, Quorn:
William E Cooke, Head, age 48, Artist Painter, born, Derby, 1843
Alice Cooke, Wife, age 44, born Quorndon, 1847
Claude E A Cooke, Son, age 18, Lithographic Artist, born Quorndon, 1873
Charlotte E Cooke, Daughter, age 17, Governess, born Quorndon, 1874
Charles A Cooke, Son, age 16, Bankers Clerk, born Quorndon, 1875
Dorothy A Cooke, Daughter, age 14, Scholar, born Quorndon, 1877
Frederick B Cooke, Son, age 13, Booksellers Assistant, born Quorndon, 1878
Louis M B Cooke, Son, age 11, Scholar, born Quorndon, 1880
Hubert N E Cooke, Son, age 10, Scholar, born Loughborough, 1881
Winifred M Cooke, Daughter, age 8, born Scholar, Loughborough, 1883
Hilda M Cooke, Daughter, age 6, born Derby, 1885
Effie M Cooke, Daughter, age 4, born Loughborough, 1887
Mildred A Cooke, Daughter, age 1, born Loughborough,1890
Annie Atter?, Servant, age 66, Domestic Servant, born Grantham, Lincs, 1825
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