William Heaton Cooper was the third child of the landscape artist Alfred Heaton Cooper and his wife Mathilde. He was born at Coniston, in the English Lake District in October 1903. Alfred lived entirely by his painting and William soon aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps. He gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy School in London and subsequently exhibited at the Royal Academy, the RBA and the Royal Institute.
His painting continued to improve, so much so that he soon eclipsed the reputation of his father. A decision was taken to move the studio business to Grasmere and the building of a home and studio there began in 1938.
William’s style of mountain painting is more impresssionistic than his father’s, with his knowledge of geology used to the full in his sometimes spare and skeletal depiction of crags and fells. He was fascinated by the ever changing light of Lakeland, with views seldom looking twice alike. His most spectacular pictures were obtained in the light of evening or dawn, to which end he would walk miles over the fells, camping out to capture the late or early glows over fell tops and lakes. The result has been a body of work which continues to give pleasure to thousands of visitors to the English Lakes.
His legacy is not simply in his art. Through his painting he manages to suggest the deep spirituality with which he regarded his life and work. The spare and deceptively simple renderings of Lakeland landscapes reflect the simplicity of his belief, whilst revealing the depth of his knowledge.
William died in 1995 and is buried in Grasmere.