Ernest E. Abbott, signed George Cope – “The Clearing” engraving, circa 1920

$265.00 AUD

Ernest E. Abbott (1888-1973)

“The Clearing”

drypoint etching , depicting dark Australian forrest with ancient gums along with smaller growth, clearing in the mid ground to an open space.

Signed & titled to the base, ‘The Clearing’ , ‘A.54.’ , ‘G. Cope’

Circa 1920


Framed 30.5x22cm
Print 21x9cm

Condition: Good condition, very slight browning only.


‘George Cope’ was an alias, used by English/Australian artist Ernest Edwin Abbott (1888-1973).
Born in 1888 at Bideford, Devon, he came to Australia and trained as a sign writer in Western Australia. In 1917 he opened a studio in Melbourne. He seems to have completely given up on art in around 1939- the beginning of WWII. The last 30 years of his life don’t seem to have any artistic products; he ran a machine workshop instead.

As well as etchings like this example, he also painted watercolours. Subjects are mainly Australian scenery, but he also did English and Egyptian scenes – possibly reflecting trips back to ‘home’ via the Suez Canal.

Online art records are full of discrepancies when it comes to Cope-signed etchings: it seems the American artist George Cope (1855-1929) has been mistaken for this ‘alias’, but a check of the American’s artworks reveals they are very different in nature – and never Australian subjects. The mystery is why E.E. Abbott took that exact name….. and why he was never publicly acknowledged, or exhibited, like his contemporaries such as Baldwinson and Victor Cobb.  There’s more to be discovered about the mysterious George Cope /Ernest E. Abbott…..




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