1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cooper, Abraham

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Cooper, Abraham (1787-1868), English animal and battle painter, the son of a tobacconist, was born in London. At the age of thirteen he became an employé at Astley's amphitheatre, and was afterwards groom in the service of Sir Henry Meux. When he was twenty-two, wishing to possess a portrait of a favourit horse under his care, he bought a manual of painting, learned something of the use of oil-colours, and painted the picture on a canvas hung against the stable wall. His master bought it and encouraged him to continue in his efforts. He accordingly began to copy prints of horses, and was introduced to Benjamin Marshall, the animal painter, who took him into his studio, and seems to have introduced him to the Sporting Magazine, an illustrated periodical to which he was himself a contributor. In 1814 he exhibited his "Tam O'Shanter," and in 1816 he won a prize of £100 for his "Battle of Ligny." In 1817 he exhibited his "Battle of Marston Moor" and was made associate of the Academy, and in 1820 he was elected Academician. Cooper, although ill educated, was a clever and conscientious artist; his colouring was somewhat flat and dead, but he was a master of equine portraiture and anatomy, and had some antiquarian knowledge. He had a special fondness for Cavalier and Roundhead pictures.