HOOPER, Luther

1849 - 1932

Born at Upper Tulse Hill, Brixton on 4 April 1849, son of Frederick J Hooper, manager of a drapery business at Highgate, and his wife Frances, daughter of James Webb, builder, of Long Melford, Suffolk. In 1855 the family moved to Finsbury Pavement, Moorgate Street, City where Luther continued to reside until his marriage in 1872. Educated at Stoke Newington and at High Street, Hoxton and aged 14 was employed as an office-boy with a stockbroker at Cornhill, London. During these two years he developed some skill in ornamental writing and illuminating and was introduced to Henry Shaw, an antiquary and an authority on old manuscripts, who offered him a position to learn illuminating and to copy ancient illuminated books, at Shaw's office in Southampton Row, Bloomsbury. Luther was also allowed to work at home in designing and drawing on wood for wood engravers, his chief customer being Joseph Swain (1820-1909) of Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, a noted engraver. After two years was employed as a designer for a French paperhanging company who also carried designs for sale to English paper stainers thus he added wallpaper designing to his work for the engravers. During this time he began the practice of watercolour painting and exhibited pictures, and occasionally sold them at the Old Dudley Gallery in Piccadilly. He married in September 1871, Georgianna Swainsbury and soon afterwards made an agreement with the London wallpaper firm, Carlisle and Clegg, to make designs of wallpapers exclusively for them, an agreement which ran for seventeen years until the death of the two partners. In 1881, 32 year old Luther with his 32 year old wife Georgiana and two children, David 5 and Percy 4 were living at 1 Bertram Villas, Green Lanes, Stoke Newington but in 1884 they moved to Hubbard’s Hall, Grove Road, Bentley, near Ipswich, during which time he studied the history, principles and technique of weaving and assisted in the formation and development of The Ipswich Silk Weaving Company, a handloom silk-weaving firm. A member of the Ipswich Art Club 1884-1901 exhibiting from East Bergholt, Suffolk in 1884, five watercolours 'Barden Tower and Moors, near Bolton Abbey', 'Church of the Trinity, Falaise, Normandy', 'Old River, East Bergholt', 'Barden Tower from the North' and 'Stoke Church' and in 1885 had eleven watercolours on show including 'Nayland from the River', 'Valley Farm, Flatford', 'Old Castle, Little Wenham', 'Old River Bridge, East Bergholt', 'The Grove, Capel', 'Road by Hintlesham Hall', 'Old House, Flatford', 'Nacton Heath, near Decoy', 'Spring Time', 'Barns at Stratford St Mary' and 'The Church Porch, East Bergholt' and continued to exhibit and at their 1974 centenary show his watercolour 'Man goeth Forth to his Work' was on display. He also exhibited six works at the Society of British Artists 1870-1882 including a 'View in Devon', ‘Morning Grey’ and ‘Twilight’ and five works at the Royal Academy 1879-1891 including views in Nayland and East Bergholt churches, Suffolk and ‘A Shepherd Boy’s Pastime’ and ‘The Bird-Scarer’s Breakfast’. Leaving his wife and family at Yew Cottage, Tattingstone, near Ipswich, in 1901 he moved to 44 Falconer Road, Bushey to superintend a small tapestry-weaving industry and then to Haslemere and set up a few looms assisted by his son and three skilled weavers who had been with him at Ipswich. In 1910 he left Haslemere taking a studio in the Grosvenor Road, Westminster and then taught and lectured at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, Southampton Row, retiring in 1923. His wife remained at Tattingstone where she died in 1918, aged 69 and Luther died at St Pancras, London in 1932, aged 83. The author of several books including 'Handloom Weaving, Plain and Ornamental' (1910) and 'Silk, Its production and Manufacture' (1911) &c.

Works by This Painter