Three Sheep



Height - 16.00inch (40.64cm)
Width - 11.75inch (29.84cm)
Framed Height - 22.25inch (56.51cm)
Framed Width - 18.00inch (45.72cm)


Three Sheep






1803 - 1902 Signed & dated 1877
Oil on panel 16 x 11 ¾ inches Framed size 22 ¼ x 18 inches

Thomas Sidney Cooper was the eminent Victorian landscape and animal painter. He was born of humble parents on September 26 1803 in St. Peters Street, Westgate, Canterbury, Kent. At the early age of nine Cooper showed a considerable talent in drawing. At the age of eleven he received his earliest tuition at the house of Dr Bailey who was a surgeon to the local barracks and an amateur artist. His mother did not recognize the artistic talents of her son and insisted he find proper work which he did working for Mr Burgess a local coach building firm where he learned how to grind & mix colours. In a very short time Cooper was promoted to the more skilful work of body painting. Mr Burgess greatly encouraged him to go out sketching on fine days and their friendship lasted for many years after the artist became famous. Cooper worked at the coachbuilders until 1818 when due to lack of work he was laid off. Fortunately Cooper had become friends with Mr Doyle who was a scene painter at the local Theatre Royal and Cooper helped out in return for instruction in the art of perspective. Cooper then made a living in Canterbury by making topographical sketches of the historic monuments, which large numbers of tourist purchased. This allowed Cooper to attend evening classes run by John Martin. Cooper was then asked to return to the Theatre Company as Doyle was not well, later the company collapsed & Cooper was out of work. Mr Burgess employed Cooper again training him in panel painting & finishing and this continued until 1823. Coopers uncle Elvey a dissenting minister, invited him to London to join the Royal Academy but it turned out his uncle had no knowledge of the R.A.
However, Cooper did enter the Royal Academy Schools before becoming a teacher in Brussels in 1829 where he became a good friend of the great Belgian animal painter Eugene Verboeckhoven who had a strong influence on Cooper’s style. He was also influenced by the 17th Century Dutch School. Cooper was greatly encouraged by the artists Abraham Cooper (no relation) and Sir Thomas Lawrence.
Cooper returned to London in 1831 and first exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1833. He exhibited 48 pictures at the British Institute from 1833 - 1863 and a phenomenal 266 works at the Royal Academy from 1833 - 1902. Sheep and cattle were his most frequent subjects, although he did paint a few figure subjects.
Cooper painted many scenes in the South East of England and was particularly fond of the area around Canterbury where several of this most important works were painted. His style changes little and he continued to paint the same subjects for the rest of his life never tiring or loosing his panache.
His commissions were constant and lucrative but the quality and competence of his style did not diminish until he was in his nineties.

Bibl: Thomas Sidney Cooper – Stephen Sartin

Works Represented: Museums and Galleries Worldwide

This is a very good example of one of Coopers smaller fine panel pictures.
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