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A portrait, landscape and animal painter. He was self-taught, and began by
painting several large canvas advertisements for the proprietor of a
travelling circus. After some time spent in Holland where he went to study the Dutch Masters, he spent several years in Portsmouth where he painted mainly animals. Starting in 1840 he exhibited at the
British Institution which was established as a rival to the Royal Academy and was located at Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall, London. In 1845 His 'Don Quixote and Sancho Panza with Rosinante in Don Pedro's Hut' attracted much
attention at The British Institution. From 1849-82, he exhibited landscapes at the Royal Academy, mainly of Hampshire, Surrey, Cornwall, Wales Sussex etc. His son George Vicat Cole was also a prominent landscape painter, and their work is sometimes confused.
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