Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/73

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Cope
Cope
61

hibited ‘The Friends’ (two of his own children, (Charles and Charlotte), and in 1855 ‘Royal Prisoners’ (Princess Elizabeth lying dead in Carisbrooke Castle and her young brother). In 1856 he exhibited nothing, but he painted in oil ‘The Embarkation of a Puritan Family for New England’ (the pilgrim fathers) for the peers' corridor in the House of Lords, for which a fresco was afterwards substituted. A small replica in oils was also made. The big picture was sent to America, and Cope was made an honorary member of the Philadelphian Society of Arts. It is now in the National Gallery at Melbourne, Australia, having been purchased by the government of Victoria in 1864.

In 1857 Cope exhibited 'Affronted' (a portrait of his daughter Charlotte, which was engraved), and executed a fresco of 'The Burial of Charles I' in the peers' corridor. To this year also belong two designs from Longman's 'Selections from Moore,' and four for Burns's ‘Cotter's Saturday Night.’ In 1858 came ‘The Stepping Stones,’ and in 1859 a picture of ‘Cordelia receiving the News of her father's Ill-treatment,’ and the fresco of ‘The Parting of Lord and Lady William Russell’ in the peers' corridor. In 1861 the fresco of ‘Raising the Standard’ was placed in the same corridor. In 1862 he executed by the water-glass method the fresco of ‘The Defence of Basing House,’ and in 1863-4 that of the ‘Expulsion of Fellows from Oxford for refusing to sign the Covenant.’ In 1863 Cope was examined before the Royal Academy commission, and in 1865 he exhibited a study of Fra Angelico in oil, afterwards executed in mosaic on a larger scale at the South Kensington Museum. This he presented to the Royal Academy with his diploma picture ‘Geneviève.’ In this year his large posthumous portrait of the prince consort was hung in the large room of the Society of Arts. For many years Cope had been associated with the prince in his schemes for the advancement of art, and the artist in his reminiscences bears witness to the prince's invariable kindness. In 1865 and 1866 Cope finished his bust frescoes in the House of Lords: ‘Meeting of Train Bands to relieve the Siege of Gloucester’ and ‘Speaker Lenthall asserting the Privileges of the Commons.’ In 1866 he became secretary of the building committee appointed to make arrangements for the removal of the Royal Academy from Trafalgar Souare. In 1867 he was appointed professor of painting to the Royal Academy, and he delivered six lectures a year till 1875. In 1867 also he painted a third scene (moonlight) from ‘Othello’ (exhihited 1868), and was one of the artists selected to report on the paintings in oil at the great exhibition in Paris

In 1868, Cope received a severe shock by the loss of his wife, but after a brief visit to the continent he recommenced work and sent three pictures to the Academy in 1869. In 1871 he exhibited 'Guy, the Bookseller, consulting Dr. Mead as to the Plans of Guy's Hospital,' which was presented to the hospital, and he was one of the committee of artists employed in the decoration of Westminster Palace who reported on fresco painting in this year (see Return to House of Commons, 19 of 1872). He continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy till 1882, but perhaps the most important picture of this period was 'The Council of the Royal Academy-Selection of Pictures.' It was exhibited in 1876 and presented by the artist to the Royal Academy, to be placed in the council room, where it now hangs. It was in 1876 also that Cope was selected, with Mr. Peter Graham, to represent the Royal Academy at the centennial exhibition in Philadelphia. He took with him his son Arthur (now an associate of the Royal Academy), and on his return he delivered a lecture upon the proceedings of the 'judges', and also wrote an amusing account of his experiences in America, both of which are contained in his 'Reminiscences'.

In 1879 Cope left his house at Kensington and married his second wife, Miss Eleanor Smart. They settled at Maidenhead on the Thames in a house called Craufurd Rise. In 1883 he retired on to the list of honorary members of the Royal Academy, and ceased the active practice of his profession, though he still amused himself occasionally with painting, and as late as 1886 acted as examiner in painting for the South Kensington Schools of Art. He retained the vigour of his intellectual powers, his keenness of observation, and his humour till the end. It was during his last years that, at the request of his eldest son, the Rev. Charles Henry Cope, he wrote the 'Reminiscences' of his life which furnish most of the material of this article. The autobiography was completed in October 1889 and he died at Bournemouth on 21 Aug. 1890, after a brief illness.

Though not of the first rank, Cope was an artist of considerable accomplishment, versed in technical methods, a capable draughtsman and designer, and a good etcher. Engaged mainly on large historical compositions, and obtaining a ready sale for the smaller domestic pictures which occupied his lighter hours, he lived an industrious