Thursday, January 24, 2013

Drawing of the Day: George Cooke's Drawing of Albert Chevalier, 1916

Albert Chevalier
George Cooke
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This caricature of Music Hall star Albert Chevalier is from the fourth album that the celebrated commercial artist and caricaturist George Cooke assembled throughout his career of recording the faces of the most famous Edwardian Music Hall performers.  This album features drawings from 1910 to 1919.

Originally from Yorkshire, George Cooke specialized in designing illustrated publicity material for performers: flyers, letterheads, posters and newspaper advertisements. Cooke was based at the Grand Theatre for several years.

By 1917 Cooke seems to have moved to London, where he established Cooke’s Publicity Agency at 453 The Strand. Records show that Cooke had considered a move to London, since in May 1906, when he was still in Hanley, a note from him was printed in the variety  magazine “The Performer.” It read:

Phil Ray says my work’s too good for Hanley; I ought to be in London. But I want money to start with. Who’ll give me some! Griff can’t afford now he’s two families to keep. But he wishes me luck. Many thanks, old friend. GEORGE COOKE, Caricaturist, Hanley.

Phil Ray and Griff were both performers whose caricatures feature in Cooke’s albums.

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