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Oil painting - Lobster Pots, Ventnor
  • Lobster Pots, Ventnor
    Cooke, Edward William RA, FRS, FSA, born 1811 - died 1880
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Lobster Pots, Ventnor

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    1835 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cooke, Edward William RA, FRS, FSA, born 1811 - died 1880 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case WE

Object Type
Still life paintings in the Dutch manner were very popular in Victorian Britain, and had been collected since the 17th century. Some British painters imitated this kind of oil painting in order to meet the steady demand.

Subjects Depicted
In September 1835 Cooke went on a sketching tour of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, where he stayed at the Crab and Lobster Inn, Ventnor. There a local fisherman not only taught him how to make baskets and lobster pots, but also made scale models of them, presumably for the artist to paint from in his studio. Then as now, fresh lobsters were considered a luxury food, and the image of a lobster still in its iron cooking pot would have given this work some of the appeal of a Dutch still life painting of food, but set unusually in the open air.

Edward William Cooke (1811-1880) started painting when he was very young, and aged only nine made drawings for the Encyclopaedia of Plants (1820). He had a long and profitable career as a marine painter, exhibiting 130 works at the Royal Academy. John Sheepshanks collected 11 of his paintings, as well as a number of watercolour studies for them.

Physical description

Oil painting entitled 'Lobster Pots, Ventnor', depicting fishing tackle and a lobster emerging from a round, black pot on a beach on the Isle of Wight.

Place of Origin

Britain (painted)


1835 (made)


Cooke, Edward William RA, FRS, FSA, born 1811 - died 1880 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas


Height: 39.4 cm unframed, Width: 53.3 cm unframed

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857. By Edward William Cooke RA FRS FSA (born in London, 1811, died in Groombridge, Kent, 1880)

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'Lobster Pots, Ventor' by Edward William Cooke. Great Britain, 1835.

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

Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, p. 41

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Edward Cooke claimed to have painted this scene on the spot. The lobster, still in its cooking pot, is similar to formal Dutch still life painting. The open air setting is more unusual. Cooke spent some time learning how to make baskets and lobster pots from a local fisherman on the Isle of Wight. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Signed and dated 1835


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Lobster; Lobster pot; Fishing; Shellfish; Beaches


British Galleries; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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