Wales, the duties of which office he discharged with much advantage to the colony until a long and serious illness disabled him from further work. He died 20 Oct. 1875. Four years before his death Cowper was made K.C.M.G. His country estate, named Wivenhoe, after Lady Cowper's native place, had previously been settled on that lady by public subscription, in recognition of the eminent services of her husband to the colony of New South Wales.
[The biographical details here given are from Heaton's Handbook of Australian Biography. Braim's Hist. New South Wales, and Governor Sir William Denison's Varieties of Viceregal Life (London, 1870), vol. i., may be consulted. Particulars of the fruits of Cowper's public measures must be sought in the Colonial Statistical Returns.]
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.]
COWPER, EDWARD (1790–1852), inventor, was born in 1790. In 1816, when he described himself as of ‘St. Mary, Newington Butts, ironmonger and mechanist,’ he obtained a patent (No. 3974) under the title of ‘a method of printing paper for paper-hangings and other purposes,’ of which the chief feature consisted in curving stereotype plates and fixing them on cylinders for printing long rolls of paper. In 1818, styling himself as ‘of Nelson Square, printer,’ he patented (No. 4194) certain improvements in printing, which consisted of a method for a better distribution of the ink, and an improved manner of conveying the sheets from one cylinder to another. This was the origin of the ‘perfecting machine,’ which prints on both sides of the paper at once, and is the model on which the great majority of such machines are contrived down to the present day. In conjunction with the inking arrangement, it formed the first machine, as distinguished from a press, on which good bookwork could be executed. Cowper did not invent the soft composition for distributing the ink, which superseded the old pelt-balls in hand-presses, but devised the system of forming it into rollers. He went into partnership as a printer with his brother-in-law, Augustus Applegath; their business in Duke Street, Stamford Street, was afterwards taken over by William Clowes [q. v.], and they exclusively devoted themselves to machine-making. In 1827 they jointly invented the four-cylinder machine, which Applegath erected for the ‘Times,’ superseding Koenig's machine. The rate of printing was five thousand an hour, an enormous acceleration of speed. Until lately nearly all country newspapers were produced by machines of this design. For many years Edward was in partnership with his brother Ebenezer, and the machines of Messrs. E. & E. Cowper were widely used, not only in Great Britain, but throughout Europe. They also invented a cylinder card-printing machine. Towards the end of his life Edward Cowper was professor of manufacturing art and mechanics at King's College, London. His improvements were of extreme importance, and he may be said to have done for the printing machine what Watt did for the steam-engine. He was the improver, as Nicholson was the projector, and Koenig the first inventor, of the steam printing machine. He died at Kensington 17 Oct. 1852, in his sixty-third year. His brother Ebenezer, who was born in 1804, and died at Birmingham 17 Sept. 1880, aged 76, carried on the practical part of the business.
[Information from Mr. J. Southward; Paper on ‘Printing Machinery’ by E. A. Clowes, in Minutes of Inst. of Civil Engineers, lxxxix. pp. 242–84; Smiles's Men of Invention and Industry, 1884, pp. 178, 195, 209, 215; Athenæum,