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Art in Scotland
Robert M. Cooper

Born, 1813 (?); died, (?).

It frequently happens that men possessed of power and genius are born or afterwards placed under circumstances too unfavourable to permit of the full development of their power, or recognition of their abilities, and so pass away unappreciated till long after their deaths. Such an artist was Robert M. Cooper, who was gifted with extraordinary talent, and whose pictures, possessed of rare merit, are seldom to be met with. He was a native of Edinburgh, and after working some time in Glasgow went to London—on account, it is said, of domestic unhappiness—where he was immediately employed as a scene-painter with Grieve, the Wilsons —father and son—and by Telbin, who held his abilities in high estimation. Life seemed to have afforded him little happiness in London, where he was found lying unconscious in Brunswick Square, near to the house where he then lodged. An inquest was held, and it was found that he had eaten some poisoned mussels for supper the previous evening. He found a last resting-place in Kensal Green Cemetery, and left a widow, who received a small pension from the Scottish Corporation.

During the time in which he was in Glasgow, he gave lessons in painting in his house in Shuttle Street. He painted, mostly in oil, figure and landscape subjects with equal facility. His landscapes are full of rich deep warm colour, great breadth, and free masterly execution—in such respects very closely resembling the work of Muller. Among these, two very notable ones shown at the Glasgow Dilettanti exhibitions were a large woody subject entitled Inveruglas, and an upright Scottish Glen. A charming little example is in the possession of Mr John Mossman, H.R.S.A. He did a good portrait of the poet Montgomery, which has been engraved, and his last work was on some of the scenery at Windsor Castle Theatre, for the performances of Charles Kean, for Prince Albert.

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