Harold Copping: Boys' Clothing Illustrations

Figure 1.--Harold Copping illustrated many school stories. This illustration is from the boys of Wynport College. It shows the boy enjoying an improtu concert with some of the local village boys. The caption read, "An open air concert." Image courtesy of the AM collection.

Copping illustrations provide fascinating insights into school wear, at least the uniforms worn at Britain's public (actually exclclusive private) schools. The boys are shown as wearing school caps and Eton suits with knickers or long pants. Senior boys wear more adult looking suits. There are many other interesting insights in Copping's drawings. Most public schools were boarding schools located in rural sites providing extensive grounds for games (sports) and other activities. One illustration from The Boys of Wynport College (1922) shows the public school boys with local boys, presumably the sons of agricultural laborers, wearing smocks. I am not sure just what year the book was set in, surely this was not the way boys in rural areas dressed in 1922, but such smocks were apparently common in the 19th century. This may represent a style common in Coppling's boyhood in the 19th century rather than 1922 when he did the illustrations for the book.


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Created: April 5, 2003
Last updated: April 5, 2003