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Thomas Sidney


Artistic period 1801 to 1850




1803 (Canterbury)


1902 (Vernon Holme)


Thomas Sidney Cooper RA (* September 26, 1803 in Canterbury; † February 7, 1902 in London) was an English landscape and animal painter, particularly known for his depictions of cattle and sheep.

In his early childhood Cooper worked in the workshop of a "coach painter" and applied protective paints to wooden and metal parts of carriages and carts. Later he was also employed as a stage painter before he moved to London in 1823. There he first went to the British Museum to draw and paint and then took up art studies at the Royal Academy of Arts. Cooper then returned to Canterbury, where he made his living by teaching drawing and selling paintings.

In 1827 Cooper went to Brussels, where Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven was his teacher, and where he perfected his skills as a landscape and animal painter by studying the Dutch School of the 17th century.

In 1830 Cooper returned to England. In 1833 he was able to present his first paintings at the Royal Academy and from then on developed an active exhibition activity, also in other institutes. His landscape and animal paintings, mainly depicting cattle and sheep, were increasingly in demand. Some of the most famous of his several hundred works are: Drovers crossing Newbigging Muir in a Snowdrift, East Cumberland (1860), The Shepherd's Sabbath (1866), Milking Time in the Meadows (Diploma picture, 1869), and the studies of bulls: The Monarch of the Meadows (1873) and Separated but not Divorced (1874).

In 1867 Cooper became a member of the Royal Academy. The "Sidney Cooper Art Gallery", set up in his birthplace in 1865, was left to the city of Canterbury in 1882. His autobiography appeared in 1891 under the title "My Life".

Thomas Sidney Cooper's son, Thomas George Cooper (1857-1896), emulated his father as an animal and landscape painter, but he had no comparable success.