ROBERT M. COOPER.
Born, 1813 (?); died, (?).
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.