It was in researching the artist and teacher John Finnie that I came across a Liverpool painter Constance Gertrude Copeman. The entry for Finnie includes her portrait of him. Beyond a host of addresses in the city where she lived, details of her life have been difficult to unearth and I have been unable to find a single image of her. Nonetheless, she seems to have been an artist of some national fame in her day, so despite the lack of detail an entry in Liverpool Footprints seems merited.
She was born in 1864 in Liverpool, the daughter of solicitor Charles Richard Copeman and his wife Jane. At the time of her birth the family was living at 16 Montpelier Terrace L8, (this stood on the corner of Grove Street and Upper Parliament Street). She attended the Liverpool Institute and School of Art and was a favourite pupil of John Finnie. Her portrait of Finnie was completed in 1903 and is now in the Walker Art Gallery collection. She exhibited at the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition from 1885-1938 and the Royal Academy from 1894. In addition to her painting she produced etching and engraving and round about 1914 she took up toy making with a friend, Miss Palethorpe.
Her works still come up for sale around the world fetching reasonable sums. One picture, Lucia, will not surface for sale as a report in the Liverpool Daily Post on 15th February 1941 sadly recorded that it was one of the first few paintings in the Walker gallery to have been destroyed by German bombing.
She died in 1953 and was buried at Toxteth Park cemetery on 26th November. She merited an entry in Who’s Who, which survived her and is in the 1954 edition. It records that was unmarried, had won the Queen’s Prize for Figure Compositions in 1892 and was a member of the Liverpool Academy. Her address is shown as 158 Upper Parliament Street L8.
She had many homes in Liverpool including:
1871 108 Bedford Street South L7
1881 141 Upper Canning Street L8
1890 71 Egerton Street L8
1894-1911 2 Bridson Street L8
1918-1926 16 Lesseps Road L8
1833 49 Upper Parliament Street L8
1937-1938 24A St James Road L8
1939 24 Huskisson Street L8
1946-1953 158 Upper Parliament Street L8
All but the Lesseps Road and Huskisson Street houses have been demolished.
This view of the now demolished Montpelier Terrace dates from c.1968.
Constance Copeman lived here from about 1918-1926.
This was Copeman's home at the start of World War Two.
© Liverpool Footprints