Thomas Sidney Cooper (1803-1902)

Thomas Sidney Cooper was born in Canterbury, Kent.  As a small child Cooper began to show strong artistic inclinations, but the circumstances of his family did not allow him to receive any systematic training. By the time he was twelve years old, he was working in the shop of a coach painter. However, he still felt a desire to become an artist, and all his spare moments were spent 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 where he met Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven who greatly influenced his style, as did the Dutch School of the 17th century.  Because of the Belgian Revolution he returned to London, and by showing his first picture at the Royal Academy in 1833 which began an unprecedentedly prolonged career as an exhibitor.

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