Portrait of Cooper Penrose
Portrait of Cooper Penrose / David

Cooper Penrose was an Irish Quaker who came to Paris in the brief peace between the United Kingdom and France in 1802–1803. David agreed to paint his portrait not only because of the high fee Penrose offered, but also because he admired Penrose's progressive anti-slavery views.

David boasted to Penrose that the picture would testify to his own talents and to "the virtues of a good father and head of household." Penrose's plain costume, neutral colors, and empty space above the figure emphasize his sobriety and spirituality.

David notoriously required long poses from his sitters, and Penrose sat for David for a full 18 days for this portrait.

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