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 Thomas Sidney Cooper  (1803 - 1902)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England      Known for: bucolic landscape painting with cattle

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Cattle and sheep in an extensive landscape
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

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 entries."

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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