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(b ?London, ?1608; d London, 5 May 1672). English miniaturist, the nephew and pupil of John Hoskins. The greatest English miniaturist of the 17th century, Cooper enjoyed a prosperous career and a European reputation (he is said to have travelled on the Continent as a young man). He worked for both sides during the Civil War and Commonwealth, and his sitters included Oliver Cromwell and Charles II. His portraits are almost always of the bust only, but within this limitation his range is remarkable: he presents each sitter (man or woman) with an individuality of characterization that can make the life-size portraits of contemporaries such as Lely appear doll-like, and his vigorous Baroque sense of design marks a complete break with the tradition of Hilliard and Hoskins.

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)