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George Soper RE (1870-1942)


George Soper, RE (1870-1942)

While beginning his career as an illustrator at the turn of the twentieth century, George Soper established a reputation as a painter and, especially, a printmaker of a wide range of rural subjects. In turn, his daughter, Eileen, was influenced by his skills and sympathies from an early age.

George Soper was born in South Hornsey, Middlesex, on 2 May 1870, the fifth of seven children of the horticultural sundriesman, George Robert Soper, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Cogan). By 1881, he was living with his family at 1 Sandford Place, Hackney, though he was educated at a boarding school in Ramsgate, Kent.

From the mid 1880s, Soper lived with his family at 300 Amherst Road, Stoke Newington, and undertook an apprenticeship with the printer and stationer, George Sydney Waterlow. His fellow apprentices included Charles Robinson, the painter-illustrator brother of William Heath Robinson. His debut as an exhibiting artist occurred in 1890, when he had a painting accepted by the Royal Academy of Arts.

After a period of two years in the 20th Middlesex Artists’ Volunteers (1894-6), Soper began work as an illustrator with contributions to the children’s magazine,
Golden Sunbeams, which appeared alongside those by Charles Robinson and members of Robinson’s circle.

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