Ernest E. Abbott, signed George Cope -Captain Cook’s cottage etching, circa 1934

$295.00 AUD

Ernest E. Abbott (1888-1973)

“Captain Cook’s Cottage”,

Drypoint etching,

Circa 1934-39

Framed 24x20cm print 16.5×13.5cm

Condition: some slight toning & signs of age, original framing, could be re-done.

‘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.

The subject, ‘Captain Cook’s Cottage’, was moved to Fitzroy Gardens in 1934, the centenary of the settlement of Melbourne. As Abbott seems to have ceased his art following the outbreak of WWII in 1939, this gives us a very small dating period of 1934-9.

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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