HOOPER, Luther

1849 - 1932

Luther Hooper was born at Upper Tulse Hill, Brixton on 4 April 1849, second of the two sons of Frederick John Hooper (1820-1901), manager of a drapery business at Highgate, and his wife Frances Webb (1816-1901), daughter of James Webb, builder, of Long Melford, Suffolk, who married at Whitechapel, London in 1844. In 1851, Luther was a 1-year-old, living at Fair View, Lambeth, London with his parents, 30-year-old Frederick, now a boot & shoe retailer, and 35-year-old Frances, and an older sibling William George 5, born Tottenham, London. By 1855 the family had moved to 18 Finsbury Place, Moorgate Street, City where Luther continued to reside until his marriage in 1871. Luther was educated at Stoke Newington and at High Street, Hoxton and at the age of 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 (1800-1873), an antiquary and an authority on old manuscripts, who offered him a position to learn illuminating and to copy ancient, illuminated books, working 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 he 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 London City in September 1871, Georgianna Swainsbury (1848-1918) 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, a 32-year-old decorative artist, living at 1 Bertram Villas, Green Lanes, Stoke Newington with his 32-year-old wife Georgiana and two children, David Sydney 5 and Percy 4 and in 1884 they moved to Suffolk. Luther studied the history, principles, and technique of weaving and, together with Frank Brown, in 1896 founded The Ipswich (or English) Silk Weaving Company, a handloom silk-weaving firm in Handford Road, Ipswich but this venture failed. In 1891, a 42-year-old landscape artist, living at Bentley, near Ipswich with his 42-year-old wife Georgianna and their children, David Sydney 15, Percy Claude 14, Edith Frances 13 and Bertha Lizzie 8, all born in London. 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 regularly and at their 1974 centenary show his watercolour 'Man goeth Forth to his Work' was on display. In 1889 at the Woodbridge Art Exhibition at the Assembly Room at the Bull Hotel, Woodbridge he exhibited several etchings. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy also showing six works at the Society of British Artists 1870-1882 including a 'View in Devon', ‘Morning Grey’ and ‘Twilight’. Following the death of his eldest son, David Sydney on 20 January 1900, leaving his wife and family at Yew Cottage, Tattingstone, near Ipswich, he moved to 44 Falconer Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire to superintend a small tapestry-weaving industry and he then moved to Haslemere, Surrey to 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. Luther Hooper was of 365 Goldhawk Road, Hammersmith when he died at University College Hospital St Pancras, London on 5 February 1932, aged 83. The author and illustrator of several books including 'Handloom Weaving, Plain and Ornamental' (1910) and 'Silk, Its production and Manufacture' (1911) &c.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 1 Bertram Villas, Brownswood Park, Green Lanes, Stoke Newington
1879 759 Nayland Church, Suffolk
1883 936 Church of the Trinity, Falaise - watercolour
from East Bergholt, Suffolk
1885 849 The Village Street, East Bergholt
from Hubbard's Hall, Bentley, Ipswich
1889 1294 A Shepherd Boy's Pastime - watercolour
1891 1364 The Bird-Scarer's Breakfast - watercolour

Works by This Artist