Search the Collection

Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882), Civil servant

Sitter in 5 portraits
At fifteen he began work at the Public Record Office. He became assistant keeper and helped reform the organisation and preservation of the British national archives. Interested in industrial design, he designed and produced a number of items under the pseudonym Felix Summerly, including a prize-winning teapot made by Minton. In 1848, Cole proposed a Great Exhibition. It opened in 1851 and was a resounding triumph, featuring 'art applied to industry'. In 1852, the Board of Trade set up a Department of Practical Art with Cole as secretary; in this capacity he formed the nucleus of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

List Thumbnail


Sir Henry Cole

by Samuel Laurence
chalk, 1865
NPG 1698


Sir Henry Cole

by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, 1st Bt
plaster cast of bust, 1875
On display in Room 21 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 865


Sir Henry Cole

by Lock & Whitfield
woodburytype on paper mount, 1877 or before
NPG x6305


Sir Henry Cole

by Lock & Whitfield, published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington
woodburytype, published 1877
NPG Ax17532


Sir Henry Cole ('Men of the Day, No. 29.')

by James Jacques Tissot
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 19 August 1871
NPG D43497