The majority of marine and river views in the collection came as part of the original Cooper bequest in 1913. The Coopers obviously had a liking for seascapes and river scenes, especially those by the French painter Eugène Isabey.
Isabey was well known in the 19th century for his dramatic marine views, most of which show the coast of north-west France. He liked to paint outdoors and he is associated with the Barbizon School who focused on landscape painting often completed ‘en plein air’. Isabey was appointed court painter to King Louise Phillippe and was also an official painter to the French navy. His works are less well known in Britain but are represented in many important collections in France including the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Coopers would visit Isabey at his studio on their annual trips to Paris.
There is a wonderful array of marine paintings in the collection, from wild and stormy seas to peaceful rural rivers, represented in drawings, watercolours and oil paintings.
‘River Landscape’, mid 19th century
Eugène Modeste Edmond Lepoittevin (1806-1870)
Oil on canvas
Lepoittevin was a very successful French artist born in Paris. His most popular works were of marine or river scenes and he painted several historic naval paintings for the galleries of Versailles. There are many of his works in museums in France but this is a rare example of one in a British collection. Lepoittevin painted more intimate scenes of daily life as well as dramatic works on a larger scale.