Richard Cooper the Elder was most likely born in Yorkshire but studied engraving under John Pine in London. In 1725 he moved to Edinburgh where he remained until his death in 1764. On his arrival in the Scottish capital he quickly established a successful business and dominated the market, engraving a variety of subjects including maps, music, tickets and portraits. He was one of the founders of the earliest academy of artists in Scotland, the Edinburgh School of St Luke. In 1736 the young Robert Strange was apprenticed to him; Strange went on to become one of the most significant engravers of the eighteenth century. By 1751, although Cooper was a drawing tutor to various noble ladies, his studio remained at the forefront of printing in Scotland.