- Also known as
primary name: Cole, Humphrey
other name: Cole, Humfrey
- individual; goldsmith/metalworker; printmaker; scientific instrument maker; English; Male
- Other dates
- 1572-1591 (active)
- Mathematical instrument maker, die sinker, engraver, and (self-described) goldsmith, Humphrey (or Humfrey ) Cole is first recorded in 1563 as die sinker at the Tower mint, London, where he worked until about 1578. Thereafter he apparently continued to sell 'Geometricall instruments in metall' at his house near St Paul’s, London.
Twenty-six spectacular mathematical instruments by Cole, dating from 1568 to 1590, are known to have survived, all but one today in public collections. He provided - and later repaired - instruments for the first Frobisher voyage in 1576, and helped to assay ore returned from Frobisher Bay in 1578.
Cole engraved a map of Palestine, his only known print, for R Jugge's Bishops' Bible in 1572. In both media his engraving style is clearly related to prior Flemish practice; he in turn was a major influence on later English makers.
Cole died on 5 July 1591, survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and was buried at St Gregory by Paul’s, London. His background and family remain otherwise obscure.
- Ackermann, Silke, ‘Cole, Humfrey (d. 1591)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/5853]
Turner 2000, pp.21-25; instruments 8-33,89; pls.8,14.