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John Copley Biography

1875 - 1950

British painter and printmaker, John Copley was born in Manchester in 1875. He trained at Manchester School of Art and in the studio of Nicol and Cope before entering the Royal Academy in London.

in 1906 he took up lithography. In 1910, together with Joseph Pennell they set up the Senefelder Club as celebration of lithography as creative medium. There he met fellow lithographer Ethel Gabain who he married in 1913.

He produced over 250 lithographs in the period up to 1938, working initially in colour but then exclusively in black and white. In 1930 he was presented with the chief award and medal at the first International Exhibition of Lithography at the Art Institute of Chicago.

From 1925 to 1927 when in Italy, he was unable to source lithographic stones so instead he turned his attention to copper plates and etching in which he took great delight. He experimented with this medium for the rest of his life, producing 131 etchings over the following two decades.

In 1947 Copley was honoured with election as the president of the Royal Society of British Artists. Examples of his work can be found in the collections of the British Museum, Yale Center for British Art, and the V&A among many others.

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