Edwin Cockburn was a painter of rural genre, interiors and coastal views. Much of his early life was spent in Whitby and he was a pupil of the Royal Academician John Jackson and a friend of the marine artist George Chambers. In his early life he painted many views of the Yorkshire coast and at least one ship portrait, but became best known for his rural genre scenes. By 1837 he was living and exhibiting in London, where he also painted portraits, but he still spent time in Whitby painting local genre scenes.
The painting “Peace and War” is one of the best examples of Edwin Cockburn’s work, serving as a record of everyday domestic life in early Victorian times and was priced at the not inconsiderable sum of 50 guineas. The peaceful cottage interior showing a wealth of domestic detail is contrasted with the bright sunlight and bustle going on outside: this clever handling of light being a feature of Cockburn’s work. This picture was exhibited in 1857 at the Royal Society of British Artists, which is where he exhibited most of his works.
The paintings of Edwin Cockburn were popular in his own lifetime and in all he exhibited 66 pictures in London; 34 at the Royal Society of British Artists, 15 at the Royal Academy, and 16 at the British Institution. There are examples of his work in the British Museum and the Pannett Gallery in Whitby.
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