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Harold Copping: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Thursday, 16 June 2011

Harold Copping was a British artist, born in Camden Town on 25 August 1863, the second son of Edward Copping (a journalist) and Rose Heathilla (nee Prout), the daughter of J. S. Prout, the water-colour artist.His brother, Arthur E. Copping, became a noted author, journalist and traveller.

picture, Bible, shepherds, angel

The shepherds learn of the birth of Christ. Illustration by Harold Copping

Copping grew up in St. Pancras. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and won a Landseer Scholarship to study in Paris. He was a successful painter and illustrator, living in Croydon and Hornsey during the early years of his career.

According to James Thorpe, in English Illustration: the Nineties: “Harold Copping’s work, capable and honest as it was, does not inspire any great enthusiasm; there are so many artists doing illustrations equally satisfactory in literal translation and equally lacking in strong personal individuality.”

Nevertheless, Copping was a notable illustrator of Biblical scenes and in order to achieve some authenticity in his work, notably an illustrated edition of The Bible published in 1910, he travelled to Palestine and Egypt. This version was a best-seller and led to many more commissions for Copping.

A trip to Canada inspired the collection of watercolour sketches Canadian Pictures. Amongst the many books he illustrated were The Gospel of the Old Testament, Scenes in the Life of Our Lord, Scripture Picture Books, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Tales from Shakespeare, Character Sketches from Dickens, Longfellow and others.

Copping was married to Violet Amy Prout in 1888, and had children Ernest Noel (1889- ), Romney (1891-1910) and Violet (1891-1892). Following his wife’s death in 1894 (aged only 29), Copping was married a second time, to Edith Louise Mothersill, in 1897 and had children Joyce (1901-1934) and John Clarence (1914-1977)

Copping lived for many years at The Studio, Shoreham, near Sevenoaks, Kent. He died at home on 1 July 1932, aged 68, after some years of ill-health and a Memorial Fund was set up in his name to provide for his widow and children, raising over £500.

Many more illustrations by Harold Copping can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

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