Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding, commonly called Copley Fielding was an English painter who was famous for his watercolour landscapes. In fact Fielding came from an entire family of artists but he was the most well-known.
He was born on November 22 1797 in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, England and at an early age he became a pupil of John Varley (see previous post entitled “John Varley – Watercolourist & Drawing Master”). He even went on to marry Varley’s sister-in-law in 1813.
In 1810 he became an associate exhibitor in the Old Watercolour Society and then three years later a full member. He went on to become the President of this Society, later known as the Royal Watercolour Society, in 1831, a position he held until his death (see previous post about the “History of Royal Watercolour Society” for more information). In 1824 he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon alongside John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington.
Like his teacher before him, Fielding also engaged largely in teaching the art but unlike John Varley he made ample profits.
Copley Fielding’s paintings were always highly popular with purchasers as he was an artist of much elegance, taste and accomplishment. Early in his career he specialized in scenes of Wales and the Lake District, occasionally in oil colour but his preferred medium was always watercolour. He was enormously prolific and much of his later work is repetitive.
From 1817 he spent much of his time on the south coast because of his wife’s health, and turned increasingly to seascapes and marine subjects. He died in Worthing, Sussex on March 3 1855.
Today, specimens of his work from 1829 to 1850 can be seen in the water-colour gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as well as other major museums. Among the engraved specimens of his art is the ‘Annual of British Landscape Scenery’ published in 1839.