REX VICAT COLE
Rupert Court between Wardour Street and Rupert Street, Soho
Signed l.l.; signed and inscribed with title on a label on the reverse
Oil on panel
51 by 35 cm., 21 by 14 in.
(frame size 67 by 52 cm., 26 ½ by 20 ½ in.)
Robert Dunthorne, Rembrandt Gallery, Vigo Street, London Old and New, pictures by Rex Vicat Cole, 1935, no.69;
Portsmouth Museum & Art Gallery, The Cole Family, Painters of the English Landscape, 1838-1975, 1988 no.126.
T J Barringer, The Cole Family: Painters of the English Landscape 1838-1975, Portsmouth City Museums 1988, p.160, p.163 (no.126)
The Georgian passageway, Rupert Court, is much the same today, its shops and bars having had various incarnations as part of Soho’s colourful nightlife and through being on the fringe of Chinatown. It was also immortalised in a famous photograph of The Beatles taken by Dezo Hoffman in 1963.
Reginald (Rex) Vicat Cole was the son of the artist George Vicat Cole. He began to exhibit in London in the 1890s and was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1900. He taught at King’s College London with Byam Shaw and together they opened their own establishment, the Byam Shaw and Vicat Cole School of Art in Camden Street, Kensington in 1910. At the outbreak of the First World War Vicat Cole and Byam Shaw enlisted in the Artists Rifles, although Shaw soon transferred to the Special Constabulary. After Shaw’s death in 1919 Vicat Cole was Principal until his retirement in 1926.
Known for his landscapes and paintings of trees he also had a keen interest in depicting the streets of London. He held a one-man show “London Old and New” at Robert Dunthorne’s Gallery, Vigo Street, London, in 1935 and planned a book The Streets of London which was never published. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere.