Robert and Elizabeth Gilchrist, 1836, by George Cooke
Robert and Elizabeth Gilchrist, 1836
George Cooke (American, 1793 – 1849)
Oil on canvas, 30 3/4 x 25 1/4 inches
Gibbes Museum of Art, Bequest of Emma Gilchrest (1929.001.0012)
After several unsuccessful mercantile enterprises Cooke turned to painting, in which he was largely self-taught. In Europe from 1826-31, he made copies of Old Masters. In early 1836, he was in Charleston accompanying an exhibition of these copies. In addition, he did landscapes and genre scenes, but portraiture was his mainstay.
Robert Gilchrist was born in 1829, his sister Elizabeth in 1831, which makes them approximately seven and five years old in the painting. Robert studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1850. He was also an amateur painter and sculptor as well as an art collector. Prophetically he holds a law book in which he has sketchecd a boat, a horse and a face. He died in 1902. His sister married Archibald Baker and died in 1904.