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  John Cooke                                         INTRODUCTION JOHN COOKE – from London or Plymouth?   I first became interested in the engraver John Cooke while doing some research on the building of Plymouth Breakwater. [1]  I managed to acquire a number of maps and plans depicting this monumental enterprise and Cooke´s name appeared several times. The name Cooke is certainly not rare. However, there appeared to be two or even three engravers of that name around this time, with two operating from London, the other from Stonehouse, Plymouth. According to Tooley´s  Dictionary of Mapmakers  there seemed to be a father and son team [2]  of John and Charles Cooke in London as well as a possible second John in London and yet another one in Plymouth.  The father and son partnership in Tooley clearly refers to John Cooke of Paternoster Row (the Drury Lane address quoted being incorrect). John trained under Alexander Hogg and published part works. His son, Charles (1750-1816), succeeded hi
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  I. London   Except for the published works which have been discovered, not much is known about John Cooke´s life. We do know that John Cooke was the son of Ann and John Cooke of Fetter Lane, a shagreen-case-maker [i] . He was baptised 1 st August 1765 at St Andrew in Holborn, London, three years before a brother, Stephen William, who also became engraver. He was apprenticed to the bookbinder Mary Cooke, also of Fetter Lane on 7 th September 1779 at the age of fourteen (normal practice in those days). However, he was turned over to William Wells, an engraver, of Fleet Street on 6 th November 1787 “and to John Russell, by whom he was freed the same day” which points to some kind of special arrangement. Russell himself was a well-known engraver and it may be that his influence led Cooke in that direction. Between 1787 and 1812 John Cooke worked as an engraver from a number of different London addresses. Considering that he had a number of apprentices himself during this period, i
  III.A  Family Life   I am delighted that since publishing this monograph on the internet (Autumn 2020) Shirley Atkinson (a direct descendent of John Cooke) has contacted me. [1] With her help and her location of more registry details a clearer picture of John Cooke’s life emerges. We know that John Cooke was the son of Ann and John Cooke of Fetter Lane, a shagreen-case-maker and he was baptised 1 st August 1765 at St Andrew in Holborn, London, three years before a brother, Stephen William, who also became engraver. A second brother followed in 1773, James William. John was apprenticed to the bookbinder Mary Cooke, and was turned over to William Wells, an engraver, in November 1787. Between 1787 and 1812 John Cooke worked as an engraver from a number of different London addresses. He had a number of apprentices himself during this period, including his brother Stephen from 1787 (see table opposite). There is strong evidence to imply that on 9 th November 1809 John Cooke mar
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  II. Plymouth   Although two guides to Plymouth appeared together in 1812 the first guide book to any of the Three Towns [1] is generally regarded as being The Picture of Plymouth, first issued by Rees and Curtis and which contained only one map, The Town of Plymouth Dock 1811 , and this was signed by John Cooke as engraver. The text of this particular guide is credited to Henry Woollcombe, a local Plymouth resident and Attorney at Law of Frankfort Street. There was no immediate reason to think John Cooke was local as the book was sold by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, a well-known London group of publishers and booksellers. Cooke’s map was reissued together with a second map in the Tourist's Companion , with much expanded and revised text, published by Granville & Son of Plymouth-Dock when it appeared in 1823 and issued again in subsequent editions of the Tourist's Companion from 1828 (see below). What is very interesting, however, is that for the second i