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In his hometown of Canterbury, England, Thomas Sidney Cooper became one
of England's most prominent mid 19th century painters, with his
signature work being bucolic landscapes with cattle and sheep.
He began painting in Canterbury as an employee of a carriage painter
and also in the theatre as a painter of backdrops. His talent was
recognized, and he was invited to become a student at the Royal Academy
in London, where he was especially encouraged by portrait painter Sir
Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830).
Cooper also spent four years in Brussels. There he became very
impressed with the painting of peaceful landscape and marine genre
scenes of Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691 and other Dutch Old Masters,
especially the ones who did landscapes with billowing skies and grazing
cattle. It was a motif he adopted for his own work. He was
also much influenced by the brightness of the palette of Belgian
artist, Eugene Veroeckhoven (1798-1881).
As his career progressed from the time he returned to London in 1831,
Thomas Sidney Cooper became known as "Cow Cooper because of the many
precisely painted bucolic landscapes he did with grazing cattle, "some
what sanitized so as not to offend urban clients, but also monumental
enough to delight country squires who loved their livestock."
Cooper also painted sheep onto his canvases.
The best years of his career in terms of public attention were the
1840s and 1850s, which was during a period when Prince Albert and Queen
Victoria commissioned him to paint their herds.
He became a regular exhibiter at the Royal Academy. "No one has
broken his record of sending at least one picture to the Royal Academy
of Arts summer exhibition every year from 1833 to 1902---a total of 266
In 1882, he founded an art school in Canterbury, and his work is at the Canterbury Royal Museum.
"At Either End of the Market", Fine Art Connoisseur, January, 2007, p. 26
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