A. E. Coppard

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

A. E. Coppard

A. E. Coppard, 1927
Pencil, 27.3 cm x 24.1 cm

Drawing used as a frontispiece to New Coterie no. 6 (summer and autumn 1927).
The short-story writer and poet Alfred Edgar Coppard (1878–1957) was born in Folkestone, the eldest of four children of a tailor and a housemaid. Aged 9, he left school to help provide for his family when his father died, and by the age of 20 he had worked for a street seller of paraffin and firewood, an auctioneer, a cheesemonger, a soap agent and a carrier. After several years in the office of an engineering firm, in 1907 he moved to Oxford as a clerk in an ironworks. He used prize money won as a spare-time athlete to buy books and develop his early taste for reading and study, and on 1 April 1919, with savings of £50, he left his job to become a full-time writer. His first collection of stories, Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, was published in 1921, and many others followed. His stories often present a woman's point of view, and sympathise with the misfit and the underdog faced with the unpredictability of life.
Coppard was the uncle of George Coppard, a British soldier who served with the Machine Gun Corps during the First World War and whose 1969 memoir With a Machine Gun to Cambrai inspired WR's On the Wire 1972.
PROVENANCE: Wyndham T. Vint > ? > Christie's 2–13 Dec. 2016 (online sale; £10,625)
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Perth 1936, Cheltenham 1937

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