Frederick T W COOK

Frederick T W COOK RWA

The London-born artist spent every holiday painting in the West Country from an early age before studying at Hampstead School of Art. During World War II he was an official fireman-artist.

In 1947 he and his artist wife, Anyon COOK, settled in Polperro, Cornwall, remaining there for the rest of their lives. Their home on The Warren, which they called 'Harbour Studio' was right on the water's edge. Frederick had previously worked as a commercial artist and was able to secure a number of book illustration commissions, but also developed a decorative style of painting harbour scenes. His brooding and atmospheric storm scenes have proved to be some of his most evocative work.

During the 1940s and 1950s Frederick exhibited a number of works at the Royal Academy, to considerable acclaim. Some of his work was quite experimental, leaning towards abstraction, with elements of the surreal. His paintings could incorporate humour and/or political comment. A keen fisherman, he included local seafarers and miners into pieces whose backgrounds were dramatic and sombre.

In 1956 a joint exhibition at the Trafford Gallery in London with James Neal attracted high praise, a reviewer commenting that his work seemed 'to interpret the soul' of the West Country as well as portray 'its quiet and mystical charm'. Cook's satirical holiday pictures also received favourable critical attention.


Painting in oils and watercolor, book illustration

works and access

Dawn Breaking over Fishermen's Net Lofts, Polperro; Storm Havoc, Polperro; China Clay Town; Fly-fishing on a Windy Day;

Access to Work: Imperial War Museum (nine works in oils purchased for the Nation); Plymouth; RWA

His war paintings were published in the Standard History of the Second World War; Time; Life; Studio and other papers.





Leicester Galleries

Redfern Galleries, London


STISA 1952 until beyond 1983

RWA (Associate)


Cornish Review;

Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945

Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash 

Tovey (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume Two - Post-1920, Wilson Books