George Cole was a self-taught artist, who painted portraits, landscapes and animals. He began his career in Portsmouth where he painted several large canvas advertisements for the proprietor of a travelling circus. He then studied animal painting more seriously and went to Holland to study Dutch Masters. From 1838 he exhibited in London, stylistically influenced by Landseer and Cooper. His first exhibit was at the British Institution titled, Interior of a stable, with old horses and a goat. He went on to exhibit there 35 times, but he is noted for his 221 exhibits at the Royal Society of British Artists of which he was elected member in 1850, auditor in 1856, and vice president in 1867. He frequently exhibited in Royal Academy, of which the first was shown in 1849 titled, A gravel pit, and from this period he mostly painted landscapes.
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