REX VICAT COLE (1870 - 1940)
Lights o’ London – Glasshouse Street by Piccadilly Circus
Framed Height: 118cm
Framed Width: 88.5cm
REX VICAT COLE(1870-1940)Â Lights o’ London ”“ Glasshouse Street by Piccadilly CircusÂ Signed and dated 1933 l.r.; signed, inscribed with title and the artist address on the stretcherOil on canvasÂ 101.5 by 72 cm., 39 Â Â by 28 in.(frame size 118 by 88.5 cm., 46 by 35 in.)Â Exhibited:Royal Institute of Painters in Oil, Autumn 1933;Portsmouth Museum & Art Gallery,Â The Cole Family, Painters of the English Landscape, 1838-1975,Â 1988 no.124.Â Literature:T J Barringer,Â The Cole Family: Painters of the English Landscape 1838-1975, Portsmouth City Museums 1988, p.158-159 (no.124)Â Tim Barringer (op cit) refers toÂ Lights o’ LondonÂ as “the most impressive work in a series of London night scenes that Cole produced during the 1930s”�.Â Â Whistlerian in its arrangement of harmony and tone this fine nocturne gives us an unusual backstreet glimpse into the glamourous world of inter-war London life.Â Â The view down Glasshouse Street, allowing us a glance at the north eastern edge of Piccadilly Circus is relatively unchanged.Â Â The Bodega bar is now The Glassblower Tavern whilst the Café Royal Brasserie, the sign to which is lit up on the right hand side of the painting is still there today as part of the Hotel Café Royal on the other side of the same block on Regent Street.Â Reginald (Rex) Vicat Cole was the son of the artist George Vicat Cole.Â Â He began to exhibit in London in the 1890s and was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1900.Â Â 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.Â Â 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.Â Â After Shaw’s death in 1919 Vicat Cole was Principal until his retirement in 1926.Â Known for his landscapes and paintings of trees he also had a keen interest in depicting the streets of London.Â Â He held a one-man show “London Old and New”� at Robert Dunthorne’s Gallery, Vigo Street, London, in 1935 and planned a bookÂ The Streets of LondonÂ which was never published.Â Â He exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere.