Cowper, Douglas (DNB00)

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COWPER, DOUGLAS (1817–1839), painter, born at Gibraltar 30 May 1817, was third son of a merchant there, who removed to Guernsey. Here Cowper indulged an innate fondness for painting, and copied the few pictures that were to be found in that island. Eventually, overcoming the repugnance of his family to his being an artist, he came to London, and, after some preliminary lessons from Mr. Sass, entered the Royal Academy schools. Here he made such rapid progress that in four months he gained the first silver medal for the best copy of Poussin's ‘Rinaldo and Armida’ in the Dulwich Gallery. While earning a livelihood by portrait painting he devoted himself assiduously to the higher branches of his art, and in 1837 exhibited at the Royal Academy ‘The Last Interview,’ followed in 1838 by ‘Shylock, Antonio, and Bassanio,’ and in 1839 by ‘Kate Kearney,’ ‘Othello relating his Adventures,’ and ‘A Capuchin Friar.’ These last three works were very much admired, and the first two named were engraved by John Porter and E. Finden respectively. He also exhibited at the British Institution and the Society of British Artists. His pictures all found purchasers, and he seemed on the threshold of a prosperous career. Unfortunately in 1838 he began to show signs of consumption, which increased alarmingly in 1839. After a fruitless visit to the south of France he returned to Guernsey, and died on 28 Nov. 1839.

[Redgrave's Dict. of English Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; The Art Union, 1865; Catalogues of the Royal Academy, &c.]

L. C.