Watercolour on paper
Ebenezer Wake Cook (28 December 1843–1926) was a water-colour painter.Cook was born at Maldon, Essex, England and came to Melbourne in 1852. At 17 years of age Cook became an assistant to Nicholas Chevalier, who instructed him in painting, wood-engraving and lithography. He was one of the original members of the Victorian Academy of Arts in 1870. In 1872 Cook studied under Eugene von Guerard at the National Gallery of Victoria. In that year he won the medal for the best water-colour exhibited at the exhibition of the New South Wales Academy of Art. In 1873 Cook went to London, and from 1875 to 1926 was a constant exhibitor at the Royal Academy. In 1904 he published a pamphlet, Anarchism in Art and Chaos in Criticism, which was followed in 1924 by Retrogression in Art and the Suicide of the Royal Academy, an attack on all un-academic painters from Manet onwards. Cook for a time was president of the Langham Sketch Club, and an original member and honorary secretary of the Royal British-Colonial Society of Artists. Cook died early in 1926. His work was popular with some collectors and dealers, but it was often regarded as pretty when it was meant to be beautiful. Cook is represented in the national galleries at Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.