Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Oil painting - L'Allegro
  • L'Allegro
    Cope, Charles West RA, born 1811 - died 1890
  • Enlarge image


  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    1848 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cope, Charles West RA, born 1811 - died 1890 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case WE

Object Type
Oil paintings such as this with subjects taken from literature steadily replaced commissions for history paintings in the early 19th century. The public and most collectors of modern works started to prefer lighter and sometimes more sentimental themes.

Subjects Depicted
This painting is an illustration to John Milton's 1632 poem 'L'Allegro' where he is calling upon Euphrosyne, the goddess of Mirth 'So buxom, blithe and debonair'. The goddess is shown closing her ear with her hand against the counsels of love. It is a companion work to Cope's Il Penseroso also described here.

Charles West Cope (1811-1890) was a landscape watercolourist as well as an oil painter. He was a friend of the collector John Sheepshanks who gave nine of Cope's works to the Museum. Nearly all his paintings were literary, biblical or historical subjects and domestic genre. He studied fresco painting in Italy and painted several frescos in the Palace of Westminster. Cope exhibited 134 works at the Royal Academy and in 1870 was appointed examiner in painting at the South Kensington Schools of Art, the forerunner of the Royal College of Art.

Physical description

Oil painting

Place of Origin

Britain (painted)


1848 (made)


Cope, Charles West RA, born 1811 - died 1890 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

oil on panel

Marks and inscriptions

'C W Cope 1848'
Signed and dated by the artist, lower right


Height: 71.1 cm, Width: 46.4 cm, Depth: 5 cm, Height: 92.5 cm framed, Width: 70 cm framed

Object history note

Given by John Sheepshanks, 1857. By Charles West Cope RA (born in Leeds, 1811, died in London, 1890)

Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1848

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'L'Allegro' by Charles West Cope. Great Britain, 1848.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Parkinson, R., Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 48-49

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Illustrations from literature were popular subjects for modern British painters. This pair of paintings illustrates two poems written by John Milton in 1632. 'L'Allegro' celebrated the pleasures of the cheerful and sociable life, in contrast to melancholy solitude. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Signed and dated 1848


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting


Paintings; British Galleries


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.