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THOMAS SIDNEY COOPER (1803–1902)

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 82 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THOMAS SIDNEY COOPER (1803–1902), English painter, was born at Canterbury on the 26th of September 1803. In very early childhood he showed in many ways the strength of his artistic inclinations, but as the circumstances of his family did not admit of his receiving any systematic training, he began be-fore he was twelve years old to work in the shop of a coach painter. A little later he obtained employment as a scene painter; and he alternated between these two occupations for about eight years. But the desire to become an artist continued to influence him, and all his spare moments were given up to drawing and painting from nature. At the age of twenty he went to London, drew for a while in the British Museum, and was admitted as a student of the Royal Academy. He then returned to Canterbury, where he was able to earn a living as a drawing-master and by the sale of sketches and drawings. In 1827 he settled in Brussels; but four years later he returned to London to live, and by showing his first picture at the Royal Academy (1833) began an unprecedentedly prolonged career as an exhibitor. Cooper's name is mainly associated with pictures of cattle or sheep, and the most notable of the many hundred he produced are: " A Summer's Noon " (1836), " A Drover's Halt on the Fells " (1838), " A Group in the Meadows " (1845), " The Half-past One o'Clock Charge at Waterloo " (1847), " The Shepherd's Sabbath " (1866), " The Monarch of the Meadows " (1873), " Separated but not Divorced " (1874), " Isaac's Substitute " (188o), " Pushing off for Tilbury Fort " (1884), " On a Farm in East Kent " (1889), " Return to the Farm, Milking Time " (1897). He was elected A.R.A. in 1845 and R.A. in 1867. He presented to his native place, in 1882, the Sidney Cooper Art Gallery, built on the site of the house in which he was born. He wrote his reminiscences, under the title of My Life, in 189o; and died on the 7th of February 1902.
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