Austin Cooper, Amateur

(b. 1759, d. 1830)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was second son of William Cooper of Killenure Castle, Co. Tipperary, where he was born on 14th February, 1759. He was educated in a school in Cashel and was intended for the church; but in 1774 he was given a clerkship in the Treasury in Dublin Castle, and eventually became chief clerk and also paymaster to the civil and military pensioners in Ireland. In this capacity he had to travel through all parts of Ireland, and he took the opportunities thus afforded of making notes and sketches of ancient buildings and antiquities. He was an intimate friend of William Burton Conyngham and other members of the Antiquarian Society. He was a keen observer and an accurate and painstaking delineator of buildings and other objects of antiquarian interest; but his drawings, done in Indian ink, though of interest as faithful transcripts, are wholly devoid of any artistic merit. A "North-west View of the Abbey of Athassel," drawn by him in 1780, was engraved by J. Ford for Ledwich's "Antiquities," 1790. In the possession of his grandson, Mr. Mark B. Cooper, 21 Charleston Avenue, Rathmines are many of his diaries, sketch books, and drawings, as well as sketches by Beranger, Bigari, J. J. Barralet and others.

Cooper retired from his office in 1803. Besides his official appointments he held several large land-agencies and he drew a prize of £20,000 in a lottery. He lived in Merrion Square and at Abbeville near Malahide, formerly the residence of the Right Hon. John Beresford. He married on 12th July 1786, Sarah, daughter of Timothy Turner of Clare Street, Dublin. As a result of a broken leg sustained in a carriage accident he died in his house No. 4 Merrion Square South, on 30th August, 1830. He was buried in a vault in the old churchyard at Kinnealy.

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