Mr Cope — the Green Man, 1806

This print from 1806 shows Brighton resident Henry Cope. He was known as the ‘Green Man’ for his excessive fondness for the colour green.

Going green?

Cope was considered an amusing local eccentric. But was he that unusual? The current lockdown has given our Paper Conservator, Amy Junker Heslip, time to reflect on whether we may all be a little like Mr Cope.

‘I have recently been thinking about this print of Henry Cope,  the Green Man.

‘The object came to me for some minor conservation treatments and mounting in preparation for the Scott and Earp exhibition in Brighton Museum.

Cope was known as a “most eccentric Brighton beau” and I think it would be fair to say that he was obsessed by the colour green. Not only would he only wear green but his face was also reflected green from the white powder that he covered it with.

He also ate nothing but green fruits and vegetables, had his rooms painted green and furnished with green furniture  (green chairs, green table, green bed and green curtains- you get the idea). His gig, his livery, his portmanteau, his gloves and his whip were all green. With a green silk handkerchief in his hand and a large watch-chain with green seals fastened to the green buttons of his green waistcoat, he paraded every day on the Steine.

Looking out of my window everyday as spring appears, I wonder  if I too am becoming a little green obsessed. I also wonder how eccentric we will all have become as we emerge from the self isolation later this year.’

Author: Amy Junker Heslip, Paper Conservator

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