George Vicat Cole (usually known as Vicat Cole) was an important landscape painter working in the mid-19th Century. In keeping with the realist mood of that period, he painted naturalistic English landscape scenes, without attempting deeper meanings or looking for rustic ideals. Cole’s speciality was the effect of atmosphere and light. As a young man, he copied prints of works by Turner, Constable and Cox and the paintings of these artists had a strong influence on Cole. Born in Portsmouth, he trained in the studio of his father, George Cole (1810 – 1883) an eminent painter of landscapes, animals and portraits who rose as far as the Vice-Presidency of the Society of British Artists. Cole had a difficult start as a professional painter in the early 1850’s when his pictures never sold for more than 40 shillings. However, in 1854 he had his first picture at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and from then on things looked up. At first Cole’s pictures were badly hung, but John Millais, seeing one of Cole’s works placed where it would never have been seen, interceded on his behalf. Gradually, Cole’s landscapes became increasingly popular, his technique more assured and in 1870 he became an Associate of the Royal Academy, the only painter that year to do so. In 1880 he became a Member of the Royal Academy and in 1888 his work “The Pool of London” was bought under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest. Cole’s son, Reginald Rex Vicat Cole (1870 – 1940) was also a landscape painter and it was he, together with Byam Shaw, who founded a School of Painting.