Charles West Cope, R.A. 1811 - 1890
The Night Alarm: the Advance!
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
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The Night Alarm: the Advance!, 1871
Oil on canvas, 1502 X 996 X 25 mm
Diploma Work given by Charles West Cope, R.A., accepted 1876
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Cope studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1828 and then travelled in France and Italy between 1832 and 1835. He painted literary, historical and biblical subjects as well as domestic genre pieces. He was successful in the 1843 competition to decorate the new Houses of Parliament, and subsequently spent from the late 1840s until 1866 painting frescos there, mostly in the House of Lords and the Peers’ Corridor.
The skill Cope developed in composing large scale figurative subjects for the Houses of Parliament was also employed in his Diploma Work to lighter effect. The inhabitants of a country house are shown intrepidly advancing down a corridor armed with a pitchfork unaware that it is merely the cats, just seen in the foreground, that have been making suspicious noises in the night.

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