Frank Thomas Copnall (1870-1949)
Frank Thomas Copnall (1870-1949) was a turn-of-the-century and early twentieth century portraitist, who exhibited over 50 pictures – mainly portraits - at the Royal Academy and 20 at the Royal Society of Arts, during a long and distinguished career. Born on the Isle of Wight, he settled in Hoylake in Cheshire and established a very successful studio in Liverpool, which was widely patronised by the wealthy merchant class of the city. Copnall became something of an artistic institution in Liverpool and rose to become President of both the Liver Sketching Club and the Liverpool Art Club. The family home was a hive of artistic activity: his wife, Theresa, was an exhibited artist in her own right and Frank’s nephew Edward, who came to work in the family business, became the well-known sculptor, Edward Bainbridge Copnall. Copnall’s portraiture was faithful and accurate but could also be impressionistic and sketchy in the manner of Sargent, with bold dashes of colour. We have not managed to trace the pretty young female sitter, although her driving bonnet dates her to around 1916-20. Copnall’s work can be found in a variety of museums, galleries and institutions, from the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester to the Royal College of Surgeons and the Docks Museum.