George Cole was a painter of portraits, landscapes and animals. Self-taught, and began by painting several large advertisements for the proprietor of a travelling circus (tiger hunts etc, exhibited at Weyhill Fair). This success led him to study animal painting more seriously and he went to Holland to study the Dutch Masters.
He devoted himself for some years to animal painting in Portsmouth, exhibiting in London for the first time at the British Institute in 1840. His ‘Don Quixote and Sancho Panza with Rosinante in Don Pedro’s Hut’ attracted much attention there in 1845.
From 1849 – 82 he exhibited at the Royal Academy, turning to landscapes, mainly in Sussex, Wales, Hampshire, Surrey and Cornwall.