Thomas Cole 2.1.13 REPOST

Here’s the promised repost of the Thomas Cole bioBLOG. (The original got spammed.) His birthday is 2.1.1801.


“How lovely are the portals of the night, when stars come out to watch the daylight die.”– Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole [Image courtesy]
Thomas Cole [Image courtesy]

Thomas Cole was born on this in Bolton-le-Moor, Lancashire, England. in 1801. Today is the 211th anniversary of his birth.

Cole was the seventh child born to James and Mary Cole. James was a woolen manufacturer. Accounts of Cole’s childhood in England vary, but it seems that family was poor and his life was pretty grim.

In 1810, at the age of nine, Thomas was sent to school in the city of Chester, where he allegedly suffered from malnutrition, harsh discipline and sickness enough to scar him with memories of the experience for the rest of his life. [ABC]

In 1815 his lot improved marginally as he apprenticed “to an engraver of designs working at a calico print factory” [Ibid] By 17 he was an engraver’s assistant in Liverpool. When the company his father worked for folded the family moved to the United States.

They lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a while before moving on to Steubenville, Ohio, but Thomas stayed in Philadelphia. He …

worked as a wood engraver and a textile print designer. The next year, 1819, Cole traveled to St. Eustatius in the Caribbean where he made some of his earliest artistic efforts, sketches of the mountainous landscape. []

He joined his family in Ohio later that year. He worked with his father as a wallpaper manufactuer . In 1820 he learned the basics of portrait painting from a traveling painter named Stein. Although Cole was more interested in landscapes, portraits sold better. He also painted theatre sets.

In 1823, the young aspiring artist took his development to a new level by enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. The next year, Cole exhibited his first work, at the Pennsylvania Academy. He moved to New York City in 1825 and began his long relationship with and reverence for the Hudson River Valley. [Ibid]

Cole, Thomas - Kaaterskill Falls

Cole, Thomas – Kaaterskill Falls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cole is considered the father of the Hudson River School, “America’s first true artistic fraternity” []

…a tourist hotel was opened in the Catskill Mountains one hundred miles upriver from New York. Once in New York in late 1825, Cole sailed for the Catskills, making sketches there and elsewhere along the banks of the Hudson. He produced a series of paintings that, when spotted in a bookstore window by three influential artists, gained him widespread commissions and almost instant fame. [Ibid]

The end of the Edenic period, Adam and Eve are...
The end of the Edenic period, Adam and Eve are thrust into a bleak Antediluvian world. Thomas Cole, 1828 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He painted lush landscapes throughout the North Eastern United States “including the White Mountains in New Hampshire in 1827 and the Niagara Falls in 1829.” [ABC] That summer he went to England and then, in 1831 toured Europe.

NYC - Metropolitan Musem of Art - Thomas Cole'...
NYC – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Thomas Cole’s View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow (Photo credit: wallyg)

He based his famous The Course of Empire series on landscapes he’d seen in Europe.

Thomas Cole - The Consummation of the Empire -...
Thomas Cole – The Consummation of the Empire – WGA05143 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He moved back to New York and married  Maria Bartow in 1836 a big year  “The newlyweds settled in the village of Catskill, where Cole had made a habit of spending summers before his departure to Europe.” [ABC]

WLA brooklynmuseum Thomas Cole Catskill Mounta...

WLA brooklynmuseum Thomas Cole Catskill Mountains Morning 1844 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cole continued to paint, and lecture until 1848 when he was “struck by a debilitating disease which left him with a lung infection…. After lingering for almost a week, Cole died on February 8, 1848.” [ibid]

Thomas Cole
Thomas Cole (Photo credit: Paul Lowry)
Related articles

For a nice interactive tour of Cole’s artwork CLICK HERE

To learn about the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill CLICK HERE


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

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