John Horace Hooper was an accomplished British landscape painter working predominantly in oils. He was born in Manchester but spent most of his career in London.
Hooper was one of a clutch of Victorian artists who pitched up on the muddy banks of the Thames. Drawing inspiration from its silvery delights, often subdued by passing clouds. His robust and balanced compositions often centre on a broad expanse of water snaking between thick reeds. While riverside trees create pockets of shadow, bristling with autumnal foliage.
The mood is tranquil as a sole fisherman keeps careful watch of an immersed line. Huddled down in a small punt with only occasional birds for company. Figures are added for interest, efficiently rendered with robust handling and confident dabs. On occasion, he turns his hand to rural views with field workers picked out in miniature. Distant hills form a hazy horizon of gentle blueish tints.
Alfred August Glendening (c.1840-1910) opted for a similar emphasis yet his portrayals are delicate in comparison. Hooper savoured the ruggedness of nature, its untamed fluidity. His works are entirely congruous yet they embrace the unruly temperament of reality.
Born in Deangate, Manchester to John Woodman Hooper and Sarah Hooper (nee Bailey).
‘A Sunny Day’ in Uolgelly, South Wales shown at the Royal Academy.
‘Mapledurham’ shown at the Royal Academy.
‘The Thames, near Pangbourne’ shown at the Royal Academy.
‘Fading Light’ shown at the Royal Academy.
'The Silvery Thames, Mapledurham'
‘Evening on the Upper Thames’ shown at the Royal Academy.
Reviewed in the South Wales Argus.
“There are numerous landscapes, the best of which is "Summer on the Upper Thames", by Horace Hooper. This is in the broad style, and represents a typical English landscape of river and meadow. The sky, with clouds drifting before the wind which sways the elms and poplars, is particularly fine; and the tangled growth on the river bank, and the cattle feeding in the long, high grass form together a scene familiar to those who have explored the upper reaches of the Thames.”
Reviewed following works shown at Messrs. Grindley & Palmer’s Gallery.
“A small but varied collection of modern pictures. is now on view at Messrs. Grindley and Palmer's" Gallery, Church Street. The works include a grey twilight landscape, "November," by Mr. B. W. Leader, R.A., not in the artist's ordinary vein, but with much interest and feeling. Two examples of his favourite Upper Thames scenery by Horace Hooper reflects a delight in rich colouring and suave and sunny landscape.”
Reviewed in ‘The Warder’ following works shown at the Royal Hibernian Academy.
“They are instinct with a quiet reposeful beauty. The delicate gradations of tone, the limpidity of the water, and the delicacy with which both works are characterised provoke admiration as much for their restful character as for the ability displayed by the artist, who sees nature in her best moods.”
'Near Sonning on Thames' shown at the Royal Academy.
Living in Hampstead with his wife, Jane Ann (nee Slater), and three sons, Edward, John and Arthur.
Died in Twickenham, Middlesex.