This painting dates from the end of George Cole's career, and relates closely to one of his last major exhibited works, Fittleworth Old Mill and Lock, River Rother, Sussex a large painting (41 x 59 inches, signed and dated 1881) exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1881, no.400 (Leicestershire Museum and Art Gallery). Fittleworth, a village in West Sussex between Petworth and Pulborough was much colonised by artists in the late nineteenth century. George Cole's fondness for the village was shared with his son George Vicat Cole, R.A. (1833-1893) who also painted major works there, and his grandson, Rex Vicat Cole (1870-1940). Many of Rex Vicat Cole's finest canvases were painted from Brinkwells, his cottage near the village, which was sublet during the First World War to Sir Edward Elgar. It was in Cole's studio that the Cello Concerto and Piano Quintet were written.
We are grateful to Dr. T.J. Barringer and Julia Collieu for their help in preparing this entry.