Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Charles West Cope and contemporary paintings of Victorian era

Charles West Cope RA (Leeds 28 July 1811 – 21 August 1890 Bournemouth) was an English Victorian era painter of genre and history scenes, and an etcher. He was responsible for painting several frescos in the House of Lords in London.Cope was born at Park Square in Leeds, the son of Charles Cope, a watercolour landscape painter and art teacher. He was given the name 'West' after that of a celebrated painter, Benjamin West, and his only sister Ellen, given the middle-name 'Turner', after J M W Turner – both painters being friends of his father. His mother was "a gifted amateur" artist in watercolours who died shortly after Charles' birth.

Charles West Cope and contemporary paintings of Victorian era 

Charles was sent as a child to a boarding school in Camberwell, London, and afterwards to "Terry's school" (sic) at Great Marlow, where he was bullied and his elbow broken, which left him with a crooked arm for life. He then went to Leeds Grammar School, where he suffered from the attentions of a cruel teacher.In 1827, Cope's father was killed in a stage coach accident. That same year he entered Sass's Academy[1] in Bloomsbury, London, and in 1828 became a student of the Royal Academy. He obtained a silver medal from the Society of Arts in 1829, a second medal in the Royal Academy Life School, and a life studentship. About 1830 he lived at lodgings in Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury close to the British Museum.

In 1832 Cope went to Paris and practiced his art by copying Old Masters at the Louvre such as Titian, Rembrandt and others. In 1833 he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time – a picture called 'The Golden Age'. In September of the same year he travelled to Italy, where he spent two years – earning a living for part of the time by painting pictures on commission. His painting 'The Firstborn' was completed in Florence and exhibited at the British Institution.

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