Born March 14 (or 17), 1793, in St. Mary's County, Md. Entered into various businesses at St. Mary's, about 1810–12; Georgetown, D.C., 1812–16; and Richmond, Va., 1816–18, where he married Mary Ann Heath, 1816. Went West, 1818. Returned to Washington and studied painting with Charles Bird King, 1819–20. Studied in Italy and France, 1826–31. During the years 1831–49, was an itinerant from New York to New Orleans. With the backing of Daniel Pratt, opened the National Gallery of Painting in New Orleans, 1844–49. Pratt added a gallery to his home in Prattville, Ala., expressly to display Cooke's paintings. Died March 26, 1849, in New Orleans, La. Buried in Prattville, Ala.
Andrew J. Cosentino and Henry H. Glassie The Capital Image: Painters in Washington, 1800–1915 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1983)