Charles Cope was born in the Bloomsbury area of London in 1781 and was baptised at St George’s, Bloomsbury on 21 January 1781. Charles married Ellen Hill Cooke on 14 June 1809 at St George’s and they moved to Park Square in Leeds where they the following children:
- Charles West Cope who was born on 28 July 1811
- Ellen Turner
Ellen died on 12 May 1813 and was buried in the graveyard at St Matthew’s Church in Chapel Allerton on 17 May.
Charles died in a coach accident on 24 November 1827 and was buried with his wife on 28 November 1827. Their gravestone describes Charles as “Artist of Leeds”.
The Dictionary of National Biography tells us that Charles was a water-colour landscape painter, a friend of Benjamin West and Joseph Turner after whom his children were named. He was also an engraver and commisioned work from Turner, but his main livelihood was made by teaching. Ellen Hill was ‘a gifted amateur’ in water-colours, and painted rustic figures. Interestingly Charles published some aquatint with etching pictures of Crofton Hall, one of which was dedicated to Miss Richmal Mangnall who is in my one name study of the Magnall / Mangnall surname.
You can read a bit about Charles in “Reminiscences of Charles West Cope, R.A.” written by his son. Here is a short extract:
My father was a handsome, well-built man, about 5 ft. 10 in. in height, with a bald forehead. He was a great enthusiast in art, collected engravings largely, and was a great lover of Turner’s works, and from him I obtained the collection called ‘ Liber Studiorum.’ He also had fine engravings of Turner’s ‘South Coast,’ and the Northern series, engraved in line, and hundreds by other masters. He had a keen sense of humour. He was never so happy as when listening to reading aloud in the evenings while drawing, and woe to me if I crept in to listen and had not done my lessons. He was a deeply religious man and a water-drinker. I used to be amazed at the number of white wraps round his neck, reaching up to his ears, a la George IV., with large frills down the front of his shirt. In winter he wore a drab great-coat and thick yellow buckskin gloves, which emitted a powder when he clapped his hands. He wore Wellington boots, which he always aired before putting on by dropping into them a lighted paper, a performance to me as a child highly interesting. On Sunday afternoons he had a doze, with a yellow silk handkerchief thrown over his head. In the evenings of Sunday my sister and I had to read aloud grave books, such as Hannah More, till the weekly arrival of his friend, F. T. Bellam,* put a joyful stop to our reading.From “Reminiscences of Charles West Cope, R.A.” p.21
to the Memory of
ELLIN HILL COPE
Wife of Mr CHARLES COPE
Artist of Leeds, who departed
this Life May 12th 1813
Aged 29 Years
Also of the above
Mr CHARLES COPE
who died Novr 24th 1827
Aged 46 Years
BOTH FORMERLY OF LONDON