Charles West Cope belonged to an art-loving family; his father, a successful artist who dressed in the style of George IV and always wore Wellingtons, named Charles after his good friend Benjamin West (while his daughter was named after Turner). Charles began his studies at the Royal Academy in 1827, and later went on to found the Etching Club in 1838, whose members included Robert Ansdell, Samuel Palmer, and - later - William Holman Hunt, and Millais. Ten years later, he was made Royal Academician; he enjoyed a successful career, and was invited in 1876 to represent the Royal Academy as a juror at the Philadelphia Exhibition. According to The Graphic, 'on the voyage, the steward of the ship approached him and asked with many apologies, if he was the great Mr Cope. The artist replied, "I don't know. Who is he?" "You don't know, sir! Why the great tobacconist at Bristol, sir!" Mr Cope could only regret that he was not so distinguished a person' (13 Feb 1892, p 11).
It's possible that this drawing was one of the 'Studies of Heads' or 'Heads of Academicians' sold by Christie's in Cope's 1894 estate sale.