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Cooper, Samuel

Cooper, Samuel (1609–72). English miniaturist who enjoyed a European reputation. He was active before, during, and after the English Civil War and Commonwealth and his patrons included Cromwell and Charles II, Milton and Monck. Cooper regarded the miniature as a painting, not a piece of the jeweller's art; with his use of light and shade, combined with superb draughtsmanship, he broke away from his predecessors, especially Hilliard. The diarist John Evelyn described Cooper as ‘the prince of limners’ and Pepys commissioned a miniature of his wife. The Royal Collection has several excellent examples of Cooper's work. There are also examples in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Cambridge, and at the Hague.

June Cochrane

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Cooper, Samuel

Samuel Cooper, 1609–72, one of the greatest English miniaturists. A student of Hoskins, he worked in London from c.1642. He painted portraits of numerous celebrated Englishmen. His draftsmanship and unusual use of lighting made his vellum-on-card head-and-shoulder paintings remarkable. Specimens of his work are to be found at Windsor Castle; in the collections of the duke of Buccleuch and the duke of Devonshire (the latter containing the famous portrait of Cromwell familiar through engravings); in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; in the Rijksmuseum; and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His brother, Alexander Cooper, d. 1660, was for many years miniature painter at the court of Queen Christina of Sweden.

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