Timothy Cole Biography

Timothy Cole




Printmaker Timothy Cole was born in London in 1852. As a child hs family immigrated to the United States, and they settled in Illinois in 1858. He began his career as a wood engraver in Chicago, but when his home and belongings were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, he moved to New York City. There, he took a job with Century magazine (then known as Scribners), with whom he would remain an associate for forty years.

It was Cole's masterful technique of making wood engravings after both paintings and watercolors that brought him recognition and distinguished him from other wood engravers of the period. In 1883,
Century commissioned him to travel to Europe to create wood engravings of famous Old Master paintings. During Cole's twenty-eight-year-stay in Europe he made more than 300 such engravings, including noted works The Haywain, after a painting by John Constable, and The Mill, a copy of a noted painting by Rembrandt van Rijn now in the National Gallery of Art.

Photomechanical reproduction had all but decimated the demand for hand-produced reproduction by the 1890s, but that did not deter the popularity of Cole's work. He remained a successful woodengraver and won a gold medal in engraving at the Paris Exhibition of 1900, and in 1904, was the first and last woodengraver to receive the grand prize at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, MO. The National Academy of Design elected him an Associate Academician in 1906, and two years later was named full Academician.

This information partially gathered from the National Gallery of Art