Friday, 1 June 2012

Alf Cooke & Diamond Jubilee

Diamond Jubilee of  Queen Victoria 1897,
presented by the Mayor of  Leeds, Sir James Kitson Bart MP
printed by Alf Cooke, Leeds
 This portrait of Queen Victoria doesn't appear to show her really enjoying the prospect of her Diamond Jubilee.  She was clearly still in mourning for Prince Albert (who's portrait is pinned to her dress).

However, many of her subjects were keen to celebrate her sixty years on the throne and to show their loyalty and patriotism, especially when it could also promote their business prospects.

Alf Cooke of Leeds was a chromolithograph printer who had great ambitions, used the latest printing technology and styled himself "Art Colour Printer to the Queen".  In 1897 he produced a colourful catalogue, titled "The Album of Colour Printing" showcasing the firm's work and also illustrating the new state-of-the-art printworks he had built at Crown Point in 1894.



Alf Cooke Ltd., printworks, Crown Point, Leeds
The company showed it's patriotic business sense again in 1953 for the Coronation of the present Queen, producing among other things a Coronation souvenir set of playing cards.
Sadly the company no longer exists and the building at Crown Point ceased to be used for printing in 2005.  However it is currently being rennovated and restored to its former glory.

Coronation Playing Cards, printed by Alf Cooke Ltd., Leeds in 1953
There are two copies of the portrait of Queen Victoria.  One is displayed at Abbey House Museum, and the other is currently on display at Lotherton Hall in the exhibition "The Victorian Look Book"

Kitty Ross, Curator of Leeds History

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