Tristan de Vere Cole

Tristan John de Vere Cole (born 16 March 1935) is an English television director, now retired.

In his first career, he was a Royal Navy Officer for seven years.


Cole is believed to be the last-surviving illegitimate son of the painter Augustus John (1878–1961). His mother, Mavis Cole, met John at the Café Royal in 1928, and agreed to model for him. In 1931 she married Horace de Vere Cole, a well-known Edwardian practical joker, then in 1932 became the mistress of Augustus John. Cole was brought up in the John household at Fryern Court, Fordingbridge, from the age of 18 months, partly by his mother, and then later by Dorelia McNeill.[1][2]

Cole was educated for three years at Kelly College, Tavistock, from thirteen to sixteen, and then from 1951 trained for a naval career at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He went on to serve as an officer in the Royal Navy from 1953 to 1960.[3] After his return to civilian life, Cole worked at the Bristol Old Vic as Assistant Stage Manager and actor,[4] before moving on to a career with BBC television.[citation needed]

He married Diana Crosby Cook in 1962 and with her has a son, Cassian de Vere Cole, born in 1966, a fine art dealer in London.[5]

In 1993 Cole met Prudence Murdoch, a divorced lawyer with three children, and they set up house together near Newbury. They were married in 2000 and stayed together until her death in 2010.[6]

He now lives in Sutton Scotney, not far from his partner Anne Stow, eldest grandchild of Neville Chamberlain, a former prime minister, whose wife was a sister of Horace de Vere Cole.[citation needed]

Work as television directorEdit

Work as film directorEdit


  • Roderic Owen, Tristan de Vere Cole, Beautiful and beloved: the life of Mavis de Vere Cole (Hutchinson, 1974)


  1. ^ Finding aid: Tristan de Vere Cole (Augustus John) manuscripts at, accessed 1 March 2019
  2. ^ Darren Devine, "Last illegitimate son of Augustus John on life with 'King of Bohemia'", in Wales Online dated 9 March 2012
  3. ^ Roderic Owen, Tristan de Vere Cole, Beautiful and Beloved: The Life of Mavis de Vere Cole (Hutchinson, 1974), pp. 156, 246
  4. ^ Owen and Cole (1974), p. 265
  5. ^ Bernard Dolman, Who's who in Art, Volume 32 (Art Trade Press, 2006), p. 262
  6. ^ Teresa Davies, Prudence de Vere Cole obituary dated in The Guardian dated 5 July 2010, accessed 28 February 2019
  7. ^ Chris Perry, Kaleidoscope British Christmas Television Guide 1937-2013 (2016), p. 618
  8. ^ David Butler, Time and Relative Dissertations in Space: Critical Perspectives on Doctor Who (Manchester University Press, 2008), p. 316
  9. ^ Harris M. Lentz, Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film and Television Credits: Television shows (McFarland, 2001), p. 2132

External linksEdit