Rupert Copping was born in London into an eccentric and bohemian family. As in infant, in the early fifties, he was taken to Ecuador by his mother and stepfather – the latter being, among other things, a herpetologist. As a consequence, during his childhood and teenage years he spent long interludes in the jungle. On one occasion he accompanied, as cook and translator, an Oxford University botanical expedition into remote areas of the rain forest where he was in contact with isolated indigenous tribes. After leaving Ecuador he very briefly joined the merchant navy as a cabin boy. Later he settled in London and in the late sixties was associated with an experimental art and dance group called The Exploding Galaxy.
After a short stint as a lifeguard in London, Copping and his family lived in a coastal village in southern Spain, which was still under fascist rule. They lived among Spaniards in what was then an isolated agricultural mountain region known as the Alpujarrra – but which has since been declared a national park and has been ‘discovered’ by Spanish tourists and foreigners. Copping also served as an ‘advisor and text book writer’ with an English language academy set up in Granada city by an ex Jesuit missionary priest. During these years he witnessed the transformation of Spain from dictatorship to democracy and made periodic journeys to Morocco, Portugal and other countries.
Returning to the UK in the early eighties, Copping and his family settled on the Isle of Skye. Having learned the art of candle-making in Denmark, he set up his own candle workshop, while his wife ran a whole-food and book shop. Due to a long-standing interest in painting, he started taking art lessons at night and eventually opened his own successful art gallery. Since then he has been a professional painter and his work has been collected world-wide. Although his own gallery is now closed, he continues to paint and sell from a studio close to home –and exhibits his work in established galleries around the UK. His website describes his art work thus:
Blurring the boundaries between the ﬁgurative and the abstract, his work reﬂects an afﬁnity with the landscape that surrounds him, be this the savage beauty of the Scottish Highlands or the landscape of other countries.
Rupert Copping continues to live on the Isle of Skye but spends three months of the year in Spain and Portugal, periodically travelling to Mexico to visit his daughter while also retaining close family links with Ecuador. Skylight Press is pleased to publish his first novel, Before the Dawn, written some thirty years ago, and having had quite a journey since – just like its author.