Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Richard T. Cooper's Otherworldly Art

According to HorrorPedia, Richard Tennant Cooper was an obscure British artist whose metaphorical phantasmic paintings show the negative effects of both disease and medical cures on the human body. Born in 1885 and leaving this life in 1957, there isn't a whole lot known about Cooper, but he's left behind a legacy of REALLY creepy paintings with a paranormal element.  

I've chosen to highlight this particular watercolor completed around 1912.I can't figure out if it has no title, and just a description...or if the description is just a really long title, lol. Either way, the painting is known as "A sickly female invalid sits covered up on a balcony overlooking a beautiful view, death (a ghostly skeleton clenching a scythe and an hourglass) is standing next to her.”

I specifically chose a painting with a tuberculosis theme to it because of the idea that the disease itself has such a link to paranormal phenomenon. Over the years, TB, or consumption, was mistaken for vampirism, such as with the case of Mercy Brown. And, as many paranormal enthusiasts will attest, Kentucky's Waverly Hills, a former TB hospital, is one of the most haunted locations in the country.  Before the discovery of penicillin as an effective way to combat TB, a common 'treatment' at Waverly Hills and other TB sanitariums was giving the patient plenty of fresh air. Large balconies filled with patient beds were a staple in these places, despite the outside temperatures.  Cooper seems to have beautifully, and creepily, captured a young woman waiting for the inevitable death sentence that so often accompanied a TB diagnosis in those early days.

To see more of Cooper's work, please check out the HorrorPedia article linked above. 

Real-life balcony. Source

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