Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

  • Drawing
    Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    United kingdom (drawn)

  • Date:

    1900-1920 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen, ink and wash drawing

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This caricature of Vesta Tilley is from the fourth album that the commercial artist George Cooke used for his caricatures of music hall and variety performers. It contains caricatures drawn from 1910 to 1919. Originally from Yorkshire, George Cooke specialised in designing illustrated publicity material for performers. These included flyers, letterheads, posters and newspaper advertisements. He was based at the Grand Theatre for several years. The theatre was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1894. Cooke later moved to Blackpool, where he drew performers at the Palace Theatre.

By 1917 Cooke appears to have moved to London, where he established Cooke’s Publicity Agency at 453 The Strand. We know that he had considered a move to London for some time, since in May 1906, when he was still in Hanley, a note from him was printed in the variety artistes’ magazine The Performer. It read:

Phil Ray says my work’s too good for Hanley; I ought to be in London. But I want money to start with. Who’ll give me some! Griff can’t afford now he’s two families to keep. But he wishes me luck. Many thanks, old friend. GEORGE COOKE, Caricaturist, Hanley.

Phil Ray and Griff were both performers whose caricatures feature in Cooke’s albums.

Physical description

Pen, ink and wash drawing of the head of the music hall performer Vesta Tilley wearing a top hat, in shadow on the left side of her face, against a black background, with four small silhouettes of her in the left hand margin.

Place of Origin

United kingdom (drawn)


1900-1920 (drawn)


Cooke, George Harold, born 1881 - died 1950 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Pen, ink and wash drawing


Height: 26 cm, Width: 19.4 cm

Descriptive line

Caricature of Vesta Tilley, 1900-1920, by George Cooke.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Performer, 21 June 1906, advertisement of engagement.


Drawings; Caricatures & Cartoons; Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.