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George Douglas Howard Cole; Dame Margaret Isabel Cole

3 of 11 portraits of George Douglas Howard Cole

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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George Douglas Howard Cole; Dame Margaret Isabel Cole

by Howard Coster
half-plate film negative, 1938
6 1/8 in. x 4 3/8 in. (154 mm x 110 mm)
Transferred from Central Office of Information, 1974
Photographs Collection
NPG x10859

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Howard Coster (1885-1959), Photographer. Artist associated with 9349 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Pepper, Terence; Strong, Arthur, Howard Coster's Celebrity Portraits, 1985 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 28 June - 8 September 1985), p. 37
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 233 Read entry

    Although he never played a part in parliamentary politics, the 'dark, dynamic presence' of G. D. H. Cole, author of The World of Labour (1913), was one of the moving spirits of British Socialism for fifty years. In 1918 he married a colleague from the Fabian Research Department, Margaret Postgate, and the couple were united in the Socialist cause, though always took pains to point out that they were not a 'partnership' on the lines of Beatrice and Sidney Webb. Together they published The Intelligent Man's Review of Europe To-day (1933), Condition of Britain (1937), and no less than twenty-nine detective stories. Independently Cole was a prolific writer producing a stream of books on social theory and labour history, and an inspiring lecturer, who, as Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford became the doyen of PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics). According to his wife he was a 'strong Tory in everything but politics'.

    Howard Coster, self-styled 'Photographer of Men', opened his first London studio off the Strand in 1926, working first for The Bookman and then The Bystander. He photographed most of the leading (predominantly) male figures of the day, and the Gallery owns 8,000 of his original negatives as well as many vintage prints. This photograph was taken at the Coles' bookish house in Hendon in 1938. The armchairs are covered in an appropriately Socialist fabric designed by William Morris.

Events of 1938back to top

Current affairs

Britain pursues its policy of appeasement. At the Munich Agreement, Britain, France and Italy agreed to allow Hitler to seize the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia. The agreement was seen at the time as a triumph for peace, with Neville Chamberlain returning home brandishing the paper agreement and saying 'peace for our time.' Within six months Germany had occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Art and science

Graham Greene publishes Brighton Rock. The novel follows the descent of Pinky, a teenage gang leader in Brighton's criminal underworld. The book examines the criminal mind and explores the themes of morality and sin - recurrent concerns for the Roman Catholic Author.
Glasgow hosts the Empire Exhibition; an £11 million celebration of the British Empire visited by 13 million people.

International

In its pursuit of 'Lebensraum' (living space), Germany annexes Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia with little opposition from the League of Nations. At home, the Nazis continued their escalating persecution of the Jews with 'Kristallnach' (the Night of Broken Glass), attacking Jewish homes, shops, businesses and synagogues, and taking Jewish men to concentration camps.

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