|Dates: ||1824 - 1896|
Already described in the 1854 Art-Journal as “one of the oldest photographers” whose “landscape subjects on paper are unsurpassed for truth and beautiful detail,” Cocke must have started early indeed. The son of a surgeon and the brother of another artist, he was one of the most prolific exhibitors of calotypes. His fifteen entries in the 1852 exhibition of the Society of Arts included views of the Great Exhibition of 1851, landscapes, architecture, and Pines Up-rooted by a Flood. In 1853 his work mostly reflected the natural world, but starting with the 1855 exhibition at the Photographic Institution in London, Cocke took an increasing interest in historic buildings. In 1855 his waxed-paper views “elicited considerable admiration” from the Liverpool Photographic Society; they were, according to their journal, “exceedingly sharp, and presented a peculiar softness of tone, with a completeness of detail seldom accomplished.” Working sometimes with his brother Arthur, Cocke established the Institute of Photography at the prestigious London address of 179 Regent Street. He moved his studio to Hammersmith and participated in the 1861 Architectural Photographic Exhibition, contributing a series on Exeter Cathedral, but the following year Cocke was declared bankrupt.
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012.
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