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Ebenezer Wake Cook (1843-1926) - Approaching Storm at Mymbyr Lakes, Capel Curig
  • Ebenezer Wake Cook (1843-1926) - Approaching Storm at Mymbyr Lakes, Capel Curig

    Ebenezer Wake Cook was born in England but spent a lot of his youth in Australia. It was here that the young Cook made strong progress in painting and was a contemporary of the artists Tom Roberts, Rupert Bunny and Bertram Mackennal. Cook came back to England in 1873 and became a constant exhibitor at the Royal Academy. He was a specialist in landscape and architectural subjects producing compositions mainly of Yorkshire, north Wales and the Thames Valley. The artist also made sketching trips abroad with his Italian watercolours being particularly popular to collectors. We recently sold a beautiful watercolour by Cook of Lake Garda.


    This present watercolour has an esteemed history being in the collection of Constance Finnis the famous gardener. It was then inherited by her daughter Valerie and was last sold at Sotheby's in 2008. The sale at Sotheby's was in aid of the Finnis Scott Foundation which was established to provide supportive funding to artistic, art historical, horticultural or botanical projects. The art collection of Lady Scott was exceptional and included works by Edward Lear, John Frederick Lewis, Sir Edwin Landseer, Thomas Girtin, Sir John Everett Millais and many others. The sale made over £4.5 million and is a testament to the quality of works sold including our watercolour by Cook.


    The watercolour itself is looking towards the south-west and shows the bridge and farmstead of Plas y Brenin which is now the National Mountain Centre. The bridge itself is over the Nant Gwryd as it flows out of Llynnau Mymbyr on the left. The dramatic background of the Snowdon mountain range forms the back of the composition with a flock of sheep grazing in the foreground and a herd of cattle are in the field behind. 

    The present view looks towards the south-west, with the bridge and the farmstead of Plas y Brenin (now National Mountain Centre) in the mid-ground and the bridge over the Nant Gwryd as it flows out of Llynnau Mymbyr on the left. The Snowdon range forms the horizon. In the foreground a flock of varied sheep meanders across the pasture whilst beyond cattle are being driven by a mounted herdsman. Snowdon and Capel Curig were a popular destination for 19th century artists and Cook was clearly following in this tradition.


    Medium: Pencil with watercolour and bodycolour on paper, signed lower left 'E Wake Cook 92', 17.7 x 25.9cm, framed.


    Provenance: Constance Finnis; Thence to her daughter Valerie, Lady Scott; Sotheby's sale 'A Great British Collection: The Pictures Collected By Sir David And Lady Scott, Sold To Benefit The Finnis Scott Foundation', 19/11/2008, lot 54.


    Condition report: generally in very good condition. The watercolour has a few small foxing marks as shown in photographs. The frame has some wear from age.

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