Portrait of an Aviator - Captain A. Cooper, 1931
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Overall: 108cm (42.5in) x 90cm (35.5in)
Oil on canvas. Half length looking right in First World War service dress and Sam Browne belt with hands in pockets of his greatcoat with fur lined collar, seated against a low horizon landscape in the background with cloudy skies above. To the right of the subject, a biplane. Signed and dated lower right 'VERA 1931' for Vera Russell Young. Applied verso with artists label. Canvas: 92cm x 71.5cm.
Vera Russell Young (b.1885) was the daughter of the naturalist and author Joseph Whitaker, JP, of Rainworth Lodge, Rainworth, Nottinghamshire, whose home is said to have resembled a museum due to the many specimens he collected. In 1908 Vera married Harold Bowden in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. He was the heir to Sir Frank Bowden, 1st Baronet, founder of Raleigh Cycles which by 1896 was the biggest bicycle manufacturer in the world. The marriage produced two children (Frank, the heir to the baronetcy, and a daughter, Ruth) before Vera petitioned Harold for divorce in 1918. Bowden went on to marry three further wives. Vera was an active amateur artist throughout this early part of her life and follower of the Earl of Harrington’s foxhounds. The identity of Captain Cooper remains a mystery. Vera married secondly Colonel Russell Young.