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Bransby Cooper's medallion: A gentleman player

Bransby Cooper's medallion: A gentleman player

A black and white nineteenth century engraving showing the heads and shoulders of nineteen men, each in a separate oval frame. The frames are set out in four rows of four, with three at the bottom of the engraving. All of the men have either a moustache, beard or large sideburns in the 'mutton chop' style. Three of them wear a cap or hat. The spaces between each oval frame are filled with a pattern depicting oak leaves and acorns. At the bottom of the image are two sets of stumps and crossed cricket bats that pass behind the bottom middle oval frame. All of the men wear shirts with narrow buttoned-up collars. At the very bottom of the image is printed 'The Victorian Eighteen.'

Bransby Beauchamp Cooper was born in 1844 in Dacca, then in India, now in Bangladesh. He was educated in England and became a prominent first-class cricketer, playing for Rugby School, Kent and Middlesex. In 1865, Cooper was selected for the gentlemen in a Gentlemen vs Players game at Lord's, making his national representative debut alongside WG Grace.

Four years later, Cooper partnered Grace in making 283 runs for the first wicket a record that stood for 23 years.

Cooper left England in 1869 and, after a brief stay in the United States, moved to Australia. He represented Victoria in 11 intercolonial matches against New South Wales and was selected for the inaugural Test match between Australia and England in 1877. Cooper was a hard-hitting right-handed batsman and a useful wicketkeeper.

Right: This wood engraving of the Victorian cricket team was made in 1874. Bransby Cooper's portrait is in the top left-hand corner. Courtesy: La Trobe Picture Collection.

Take a closer look at the portrait
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