Cole was a portraitist who, apart from work in England, sought commissions in colonial corridors of power, from SA to India and Australasia. He worked in SA on several stays, and in 1896 painted the portrait of former Prime Minister and the then Attorney-General of the Cape Colony, Sir Thomas Upington (1844- 1898). Upington, as the artist noted, was a sitter "after my own heart", "a great character and a great Irishman", fond of sherry and keen on "the merits of Dutch art" (Cole, 1930:189). In 1930 Cole published his memoirs under the title Vanity Varnished; Reminiscences in Many Colours. SASA is not mentioned in it, but it is a rich source of anecdote.
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