Born in London, Timothy Cole immigrated to the United States when he was five years old. He began his career as a wood engraver in Chicago, but when his home was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, he moved to New York City. It was Cole's masterful technique of making wood engravings after both paintings and watercolors that brought him recognition and distinguished him from other wood engravers of the period. In 1883, Century Magazine commissioned him to travel to Europe and create wood engravings of famous old master paintings. During Cole's twenty-eight-year-stay in Europe he made more than 300 such engravings. Cole's pictures, The Haywain, after a painting by John Constable, and The Mill, a copy of a noted painting by Rembrandt van Rijn now in the National Gallery of Art, are typical of these works, which were his most important achievements.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]