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Thomas Sidney Cooper

1803 - 1902

Cooper was an animal painter, who was encouraged by Abraham Cooper (no relation) and by Sir Thomas Lawrence. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools. In 1827 he became a teacher in Brussels, and met the very distinguished Belgian animal painter Eugene Verboeckhoven. This greatly influenced his style, as did his exposure to paintings of the Dutch School of the 17th century.

In 1831 he settled in London and first exhibited at the Suffolk Street Galleries in 1833. He exhibited 48 pictures at the British Institute between 1833 and 1863.

'Landscape and Cattle', exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1833 was the first of a series of 266 exhibits shown there until 1902, without a break - a record for continuous exhibiting at the Academy. Sheep or cattle were his constant subjects, but in 1846 he attempted a large historical painting 'The Defeat of Kellermann's Cuirassiers at Waterloo'. This and 'Hunting Scene', shown at the RA in 1890, were his only figure studies.

Between 1848 and 1856 he painted the cattle in numerous landscapes by Frederick Lee and also the animals in landscapes by Thomas Creswick. After about 1870 his commissions were so constant and lucrative that he was tempted to yield to facile repetition of his favourite themes, but the quality and competence of his style only began to decline in the 1890s, by which time he was an old man.

His studio sale at Christie's lasted three days between 12th and 15th April, 1902. Back to list