Walter Scott


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Robert Cooper (fl. 1793-1836)

Although a prolific portrait engraver over a number of decades, little is known of Robert Cooper. His first recorded work as an engraver was for the Biographical Magazine in 1795. He went on to contribute extensively to the periodical press, producing prints for, among others, La Belle Assemblée; or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, the Gentleman's Magazine, European Magazine, Dramatic Magazine, and Evangelical Magazine. The most significant books to feature his work include Cawthorn's Modern British Theatre series, Edmond Lodge's series of Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain, Tresham's and Ottley's British Gallery of Pictures (1808), Chamberlaine's edition of Holbein drawings (1812), the Culloden Papers (1815), Memoirs of the Kit-Cat Club (1821), and Colburn's edition of Pepys's Diary (1825). His last recorded engraving dates from 1826, but, according to Samuel Redgrave, he was still living in 1836. He is probably identical with the 'R. Cooper' who exhibited miniature portraits at the Royal Academy between 1793 and 1799.

Besides engraving Sir Henry Raeburn's 1808 portrait of Scott for vol. I of The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet (1823), Cooper engraved all but two of the Portraits Illustrative of the Novels, Tales, & Romances of the Author of Waverley (London: C. Baldwyn, 1824). His engravings of the portraits for Old Mortality were particularly celebrated; see below for his engravings (full-size) of General Thomas Dalyell after David Paton and of John Graham of Claverhouse 'from Lord Leven's picture'.

General Thomas Dalyell, engraved by R. Copper after David Paton (Corson H.POR.2)
John Graham of Claverhouse, engraved by R. Cooper (Corson H.POR.2)


  • Buss, Jacques (ed.). Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays (Paris: Gründ, 1999)
  • Hunnisett, Basil. A Dictionary of British Steel Engravers (Leigh-on-Sea: F. Lewis, 1980)
  • Redgrave, Samuel. A Dictionary of Artists of the English School: Painters, Sculptors, Architects with Notices of their Lives and Work (London: G. Bell, 1878)
  • Thieme, Ulrich, and Felix Becker (eds). Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Leipzig: Seemann, 1907-50)
  • Todd, William. B., and Ann Bowden. Sir Walter Scott: A Bibliographical History, 1796-1832 (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1998)

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Last updated: 22-Apr-2005
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