Charles West Cope
19 of 20 portraits on display in Room 24 at the National Portrait Gallery
- Extended catalogue entry
Charles West Cope
by Charles West Cope
Oil on canvas , 1879
15 5/8 in. x 12 1/8 in. (397 mm x 308 mm)
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Inscriptionback to top
Inscr. along lower edge to right: ‘CWC 1879’.
On back, inscr. in pencil on unpainted canvas fold over upper stretcher: ‘cut off’;
stamped in black paint on lower stretcher: ‘BJ 121’;
inscr. in chalk on right stretcher: ‘Lot 83 10-10-89’;
and inscr. in ballpoint on small sticky label on upper stretcher: ‘C.E.F / 1519 / CWR’.
This portraitback to top
This quintessential image of the venerable Victorian artist, executed with understated accomplishment, may have been prompted by the compilation of Cope’s autobiography, suggested to the widowed artist by his sons. It emulates the style of George Frederic Watts’s series of eminent contemporaries, as well as the Old Master manner from which those derive. The muted greys and browns of background and costume offset the flesh tones of the face, lit from the right.
The work is not listed in Cope’s catalogue of his paintings made between 1832 and 1882 published in his Reminiscences.  It was produced in the year that Cope met and married his second wife, a decade after his first wife’s death. Three years later he retired from painting.
Dr Jan Marsh
Footnotesback to top
Physical descriptionback to top
Half-length to left, half-profile, dark eyes, full grey beard, before easel, holding paintbrush in right hand, wearing black cap, white collar, brown jacket, grey painting coat, with grey ledge/sill across image lower edge.
Provenanceback to top
Probably with the artist’s daughter Margaret Cope Auchmuty; Mrs J. Henzell Ault, by whom consigned to Christie’s, 10 October 1980 (83), whence purchased.
View all known portraits for Charles West Cope