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Copley Fielding POWS (1787-1855)

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding, POWS (1787-1855)

Copley Fielding was one of the most technically impressive watercolourists of his day, both popular as an artist and influential as a teacher.

Copley Fielding was born in Sowerby, near Halifax, Yorkshire, on 22 November 1787. He was the third, and best known, of the five artist sons of Nathan Theodore Fielding, a Yorkshire portrait and landscape painter. His full name suggests his father’s ambitions for him, as it combines those of Anthony Van Dyck and the history painter, John Singleton Copley RA (though Copley was also a hamlet neighbouring Sowerby).

In 1788, the Fielding family moved to Acton, Middlesex (now in London). Copley attended a local school and, like his brother Frederick, worked as ‘an engrossing clerk in the enrolment office of the court of chancery’ (Mallalieu, 2004, page 498). After periods in Durham and London, the Fieldings settled in the Lake District in around 1804, first at a cottage in Ambleside and later in Keswick.

Given his first lessons in art by his father, Copley was soon working in a very similar style, though he was sent out each morning to draw from nature.

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