Tennyson Cole

Biography
Cole was a portraitist who, apart from work in England, sought commissions in colonial corridors of power, from SA to India and Australasia. He worked in SA on several stays, and in 1896 painted the portrait of former Prime Minister and the then Attorney-General of the Cape Colony, Sir Thomas Upington (1844- 1898). Upington, as the artist noted, was a sitter "after my own heart", "a great character and a great Irishman", fond of sherry and keen on "the merits of Dutch art" (Cole, 1930:189). In 1930 Cole published his memoirs under the title Vanity Varnished; Reminiscences in Many Colours. SASA is not mentioned in it, but it is a rich source of anecdote.

When The Cape Times of 10 May 1897 reported on the founding of SASA, it listed Cole as on the first Committee. There is, however, no surviving record of his participation in any SASA exhibition at all. His showing on a putative First Annual Exhibition in 1897 cannot, however, be ruled out. The catalogue of the Second Annual Exhibition of the SASA of 1898 does not list Cole either as an exhibitor or a member, and he may have resigned soon after joining. We also know from a Cape Times report dated 1 August 1898 that coincident with the SASA exhibition of 1898, he was holding a private one of his own, open "to those ladies and gentlemen who received cards of invitation" (The Cape Times, 1.8.98). Cole aimed to become wealthy from his work, and his membership of SASA did not serve such ends. The only record of his participation in an exhibition with SASA members was in 1899, when an exhibition of British art and every other local artist of repute was held at the Drill Hall, and opened by the Governor (The Cape Times Weekly, 24.5.1899). Cole maintained glamorously - appointed studios wherever he settled, and he rented a large room in the now-demolished Theatre Building, where Cape Town's GPO presently stands. This studio was later used by Denis Santry (qv.) and Gwelo Goodman (qv.). Cole died a pauper in London in 1939, with nothing left of the fortune he had earned.
[Source Cole was a portraitist who, apart from work in England, sought commissions in colonial corridors of power, from SA to India and Australasia. He worked in SA on several stays, and in 1896 painted the portrait of former Prime Minister and the then Attorney-General of the Cape Colony, Sir Thomas Upington (1844- 1898). Upington, as the artist noted, was a sitter "after my own heart", "a great character and a great Irishman", fond of sherry and keen on "the merits of Dutch art" (Cole, 1930:189). In 1930 Cole published his memoirs under the title Vanity Varnished; Reminiscences in Many Colours. SASA is not mentioned in it, but it is a rich source of anecdote.

When The Cape Times of 10 May 1897 reported on the founding of SASA, it listed Cole as on the first Committee. There is, however, no surviving record of his participation in any SASA exhibition at all. His showing on a putative First Annual Exhibition in 1897 cannot, however, be ruled out. The catalogue of the Second Annual Exhibition of the SASA of 1898 does not list Cole either as an exhibitor or a member, and he may have resigned soon after joining. We also know from a Cape Times report dated 1 August 1898 that coincident with the SASA exhibition of 1898, he was holding a private one of his own, open "to those ladies and gentlemen who received cards of invitation" (The Cape Times, 1.8.98). Cole aimed to become wealthy from his work, and his membership of SASA did not serve such ends. The only record of his participation in an exhibition with SASA members was in 1899, when an exhibition of British art and every other local artist of repute was held at the Drill Hall, and opened by the Governor (The Cape Times Weekly, 24.5.1899). Cole maintained glamorously - appointed studios wherever he settled, and he rented a large room in the now-demolished Theatre Building, where Cape Town's GPO presently stands. This studio was later used by Denis Santry (qv.) and Gwelo Goodman (qv.). Cole died a pauper in London in 1939, with nothing left of the fortune he had earned. [Source http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/artsmediaculture/gallery/sa-society-of-artists/menu13.htm ] 2006
He was an eclectic artist, producing painting in oil and watercolour, articles in silver, and stained glass windows. Accessed from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Philip-William-Cole-1884-1964-Hastings/dp/0956320805
Synopsis for the book " Philip William Cole 1884-1964: Master and Artist of Hastings, Sussex " by Diane Cole. Published by Caudle Publishing; 1st edition (1 July 2011)
b.1862, d.1939
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