(b New York, March 18, 1779; d Woolwich, March 18, 1847).
English painter, illustrator, writer and Soldier, active in Canada. As a young cadet at Woolwich Royal Military Academy (1793–5) he took instruction in topographical drawing from Paul Sandby. He travelled and sketched in continental Europe and established a reputation with his illustrations to picturesque travel-books of Italy and the Alpine regions of Switzerland.
In 1826 Cockburn went to Quebec City as commander of the Royal Artillery. His principal Canadian work is a guidebook to the city, entitled Quebec and its Environs: Being a Picturesque Guide to the Stranger (1831). It includes six engravings based on his drawings of the area. Published anonymously, the book was written in a somewhat anecdotal yet informative style, directing the newly arrived visitor to the most scenic viewpoints of the city and surrounding areas. It points out the panoramic vistas that would undoubtedly delight all visitors to and residents of Quebec city, which is perched on a cliff overlooking the St Lawrence River....