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The London Great Exhibition of 1851 attracted a good deal of interest amongst Irish artists, and many of them sent works to the Exhibition. In Cork, at Fletcher's, William L. Casey exhibited an unusual piece of sculptural furniture, prior to its being shown in London. The piece represented a kneeling gladiator, mounted on a tripod plinth. The gladiator's horizontal shield formed a table, which could be removed at will, thus enabling the  carved bog oak warrior to be viewed more readily. This W. L. Casey, who later exhibited three wood-carvings at the 1883 Cork Industrial Exhibition, is described as an 'apprentice' of Fletcher's, for whom he later made a well-known 'Shamrock table'. [Footnote: Cork Examiner, February 19, 1851, p. 2, col. 6]  He should not be confused with the William Linnaeus Casey, who was born in Cork in 1835 and was a student at the Cork School of Design at this time. (They may have been brothers.) In 1852 William Linnaeus Casey was selected along with fellow students John Drummond and Francis Cunningham to receive a scholarship to Marlborough House, and in subsequent years he went on (as did also Drummond for a period) to become art tutor to the Royal household in England. [Footnote: Strickland, Vol. 1, pp. 162, 303] Casey also exhibited in Cork in 1863 (q.v.).

In June, J. E. Bosanquet placed an advertisment in the Examiner, announcing his annual visit to Cork, and his willingness to execute portrait miniatures on ivory, for one guinea and upward, at 62 Patrick Street. To prevent mistakes, 'Mr. B.' stressed that he had no professional connection with a young man of the same name, who was also canvassing for orders. This latter artist is doubtless the watercolourist J. E. Bosanquet, described by Strickland as 'slovenly and of little merit', who is represented by several charming Cork landscapes in the Crawford collection. [W. G. Strickland, Vol.1, p. 72]

At Clonakilty, William Bence-Jones commenced building Lisselane, a house designed, in a simplified French chateau style, by Lewis Vulliamy. [M. Bence-Jones, p. 188]


The National Arts Exhibition held in Cork in 1852 was a major event for the visual arts in the Munster capital. It was formally opened on June 10th by the Lord Lieutenant, The Earl of Elginton. The exhibition was housed in a cruciform building, with four 'transepts', specially designed and erected at the Corn Exchange on Albert Quay (the site of the present City Hall). who also designed the circular Butter Market, near Shandon church, which was built around this time. Ten years later, this same architect was to design the Prince's Street Market, in the centre of Cork. [M. Craig, p. 307] Benson, an engineer as well as an architect, designed many bridges around Cork, and also served for three years as engineer for the Cork Harbour Commissioners, during which time he designed quays and other harbour works. Although primarily known for his market and exhibition buildings, and for the fine Berwick Fountain on Grand Parade, built in 1860, Benson also designed the fine Gothic St. Vincent's church, which overlooks the river Lee at Sunday's Well. According to former Cork city architect T. F. McNamara, the materials used in the construction of Benson's 1852 National Exhibition building were soon after reused in the construction of the Athenaeum theatre, also designed by him and erected in 1853. Apparently, the Exhibition Building was offered to the Trustees of the Royal Cork Institution, who, having engaged Benson to re-erect it beside the School of Design, re-named it the Athenaeum. [T. F. McNamara, pp. 36, 115, 122] Following on the success of his 1852 Cork Exhibition buildings, Benson was called upon to design the 1853 Dublin Exhibition buildings. [T. F. McNamara, p. 115]

The 1852 Exhibition was by no means devoted solely to the fine arts. Three of the four transepts were given over to the display of, amongst other things, whiskey, ale, porter, pearl barley, 'Norton's Projectile Shells', hydraulic presses, Valentia slate, stuffed birds, wax flowers and Cork Ginghams. Most of the major Cork businesses and manufactories participated, while individuals such as Mr. Abraham Hargrave, of Ballynoe, an 'amateur mechanic', exhibited his improved batteries, and Daniel Sheehan showed a dinner service fired in Rostellan clay. [Cn. "The First Cork Exhibition" JCHAS, Vol. VI, 1900, pp. 224-233]

The Fine Art Hall of the Exhibition, in the Southern transept, contained paintings and sculptures by prominent Irish artists such as Caterson Smith, Bernard Mulrenin, George Petrie, Frederick William Burton, Francis Danby, John Henry Foley and Michelangelo Hayes, as well by as lesser-known artists, like sculptor Rodolphus Hannigan. Two commemorative medals by William Woodhouse was struck, one for the exhibition and another for the opening of the Fine Arts Hall. This latter medal contained figures of "Hope" and "Hibernia", which were after designs by Daniel Maclise. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 562] 

Sculptor John Hogan was represented in the exhibition by several works, including The Dead Christ, Hibernia supporting a bust of Lord Cloncurry, andA Grecian Shepherd. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 494] Hogan's The Dead Christ was not exhibited in the Fine Arts Hall, but in a separate darkened room, hung with purple cloth. Another talented sculptor, Edward Ambrose, who had left Cork seven years previously to study at the Royal Academy, showed his Cupid and Psyche, which was to be disposed of by lottery in Marsh's in 1861 (q.v.). The sculptor James Heffernan, who had first come to Cork with architect Michael Shanahan in 1796, and subsequently was assistant to Chantrey, died five years before the Cork National Exhibition. Nontheless, he was well represented, by his Chaste Susannah, Girl Caressing a Child and  Haemon and Antigone : "With one arm Haemon supports the dead body of the heroic girl, and with his right hand plunges his dagger into his heart." Joseph Kirk, the fifth child of Cork-born sculptor Thomas Kirk (1781-1845), had, in 1852, just succeeded Panormo as Master of the Dublin Society's Drawing Schools. He showed two works in the Cork exhibition, Ruth and Naomi, from 1846, and The Creation of the Dimple, which dated from the year following.  [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p 583; J. Francis Maguire, pp. 344-5] J. Francis Maguire lists the following London sculptors in the 1852 Cork exhibition: John Henry Foley, Edward A. Foley, John Edward Jones (all Dublin-born) and C. Moore. John Edward Jones around this time sculpted portrait busts of  Cork dignitaries Sir Thomas Deane, Dr. Lyons  and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Sir William Hackett; all three of which were shown in the Dublin Exhibition of 1853. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 347; W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 559] Richard Barter, recently returned to Ireland from London,  also showed work in the 1852 Cork Exhibition, as did John Farrell and Edward Ambrose.

Other sculptors represented were  R. Hibson, R. Ball, C. E. Powell, F. Burnett and William Burnett, of Dublin, and G. Stanley, of Waterford. Woodcarvers, mostly from Dublin, included C. De. Groot, E. Hickson, T. Rogers, J. A. Clarke, P. McDonagh and H. Williams There were a considerable number of student and amateur Cork sculptors, including George Newenham, C. B. Newenham, the late R. O'C. Newenham, J. Morrough, of the Cork School of Design, who exhibited a Baptisimal Font; F. Harty, who showed a bust of the late George Newenham; Mr. Langstaff, a Fountain; D. Kelly, a Crucifixion, and Joseph Corbett, a member of the Executive Committee, who showed some of his ivory carvings. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 347] The lady artists included a Miss Lewd, of Dublin, who showed a 'pretty statuette'.   

The exhibition contained over three hundred paintings. James Henry Brocas exhibited portraits of Samuel Kyle, Bishop of Cork and Thomas Newenham Deane. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 94] Sir Thomas Newenham Deane himself exhibited several works, including Scene on the River Lee, near the City of Cork and Skelter, the Artist's Pet. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 332] In addition, there was an exhibition of 17 works by Nathaniel Grogan the Elder, several views of Cork and Killarney by John Brenan, and works by his son, James Butler Brenan (also spelt Brennan). [Patricia Butler, Irish Watercolours and Drawings,  p. 64. see also W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 81] 

James Butler Brenan's contributions to the National Fine Arts Exhibition of 1852 included a self-portrait, a portrait of John Shea, a work entitled Age Receiving Instruction from Youth, and a portrait of  Sir Thomas Deane, father of T. N. Deane and vice-chairman of the Executive Committee. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 80] Brenan also showed a portrait of 'that learned octogenarian, James Roche, President of the Royal Cork Institution'. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 329] Deane was taken to task in the letters page of the Cork Examiner for including a work attributed to Nathaniel Grogan in the exhibition. The complainant, a "J. M.", asserted that he himself had owned the true version of the painting, entitled The Irish Tinker with his Kerry Pony and Family passing over Mushra Mountain on a Winter's Day , and had owned it since about 1817. The painting had been prepared by Grogan, according to the writer, for inclusion in Cooper Penrose's famous picture gallery at Woodhill, but due perhaps to a disagreement over price, 'or some other cause not now known', it had never been placed there:

Rumour proclaimed that the Picture was lost. After Grogan's demise it was eagerly sought for by several persons who know its merits and value, but without effect. His family were scattered, and his best and most admired productions could not be discovered.

Accident, however, about 35 years ago enabled me to obtain the picture; and it has been ever since in my possession. Some 20 years past, I allowed a young artist to copy it; and from that copy many others have doubtless been made. [Cork Examiner, 8th Sept. 1852, p. 2, col. 6]

Sir Thomas Deane, 'who was a pupil of Grogan', is upbraided for allowing this imitation to be passed off as the real thing.

A review of the exhibition appeared in the Cork Examiner on September 8th.
On entering the building, almost the first portrait which catches the eye is that of a face, whose every lineament is impressed on the minds of millions, and were it even an indifferent likeness, the features of the Apostle of Temperance, no matter how rudely drawn, could not be mistaken. It is a portrait of Fr. Mathew, by S. West, M. R. A., London. [Cork Examiner, 8th Sept. 1852, p. 2, col. 7]

Samuel West had been born in Cork about 1810, the son of bookseller William West (author of A Guide to Cork) who had settled in that city two years earlier. West studied art in Cork but at an early age went to Rome, to continue his training. In 1840 he was in London, and exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy, where he continued to show until his death in 1867. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 518] Strickland mentions a Portrait of Fr. Mathew by West, perhaps that shown in this exhibition, which was in the collection of 'the late Sir James Mathew' and had been engraved by W. O. Geller. Strickland also lists some of the other paintings by West which were on view in Cork in 1852: Charles I Receiving Instruction in Drawing from Rubens; Quentin Durwood's first Interview with the Countess of Croye, and Chaucer at the Court of Edward III. The Cork newspapers were more interested in West's portraits, including one of Percy B. Bernard, son of the Rev. Charles Bernard of Bandon.

The Bernards themselves were enthusiastic amateur artists, busy both painting and being painted in the early 1850's: In the exhibition, Mrs. Bernard's Italian Scene and Fishing Scene by Moonlight were considered to be free from 'that peculiar mannerism by which ladies' landscape painting is frequently distinguished', while Viscountess Bernard's View of Brussels and A View in Castle Bernard Park were thought to show 'an ardent study and correct appreciation of the beauties of nature.' [Ibid] (A third member of the family, Lady Harriet Bernard, also showed work on this occasion.) Three paintings, entitled Ballad Singers from Life, The Irish Pipes and A Roman Peasant Boy from Life by a Mrs. Colonel Smith (probably Mrs. Anne Catterson Smith) were considered 'life-like and natural', and the artist was considered to rank amongst 'the first delineators of peasant life'. The reviewer was favourably impressed with the portrait of 'an old and respected citizen' of Cork, Mr. John Cotter, by William Fisher RA. Fisher also contributed a Portrait of the Artist at 17 Years of Age and a portrait of Robert O'Callaghan Newenham, both painted in Cork eighteen years previously, when Fisher was still a student.

Other portraits by Fisher in the Fine Arts Hall were a sketch of Samuel Skillen, and a painting of John Craig, manager of the Cork branch of the Bank of Ireland. The portrait was apparently painted at the order of the trustees of the rival Cork Savings Bank, for whom Craig had devised an efficient accounting system. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 325] However, the painting by Fisher which drew most attention was titled The Coulin, or Exiled Bard, which depicted said bard at the water's edge, clasping a beautiful girl to his bosom, while taking leave of his native country. Maguire states that this painting was owned in 1852 by the artist's sister, Mrs. James Hogg, in Cork.

George Sharp ARHA, who, in January of 1852 had read a paper before the Royal Dublin Society on the teaching of elementary drawing, exhibited hisModels to Facilitate the teaching of Drawing. Sharp's methods were largely an adaptation of the theories of Alexander Dupuis, who had devised the system of instruction used in the Government Schools in France. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 327]
Cork artist Edward Harding (1804-1870) showed a small painting of eggs in a bird's nest, as well as some portraits in watercolour and a miniature of Lady Deane and her children. (Lady Deane, recently deceased, was herself an occasional artist and, apart from being represented in the 1852 Cork exhibition, had shown two views of Queen's College, Cork , designed by her husband, at the RHA three years previously). [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 449; A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 200]

The London-based portrait painter Edward Daniel Leahy, whose family were from Cork, exhibited a work entitled Expectations, which had previously been shown at the Royal Academy, in 1850. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 15] Another London-based artist, who had originally hailed from Cork, was Daniel MacDonald. He sent over to Cork two works, entitled A Vision of the Sea and The Gun of Distress. The latter painting, a large canvas measuring over four feet by five feet, had been exhibited two years previously in the British Institution. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 57] James Mahoney, contributer to the Illustrated London News, showed several of his detailed architectural watercolours in the 1852 Cork exhibition, including The City of Cork from the river near the Custom House, Queens College, Cork as well as some views of Venice and Rome, the result of his extensive travels on the Continent.[W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 90]

J. Francis Maguire mentions Richard Lyster showing two works in the 1852 Cork National Exhibition; a painting 'of broad humour and pathos' entitledThe Night Before Larry was Stretched, and a portrait of the Rev. Francis Mahony ("Fr. Prout") This portrait depicted the literary and political author inside St. Peter's in Rome, with a Swiss Guard and the columns of the baldachino in the background. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 331]

Other Cork artists represented at the 1852 Exhibition were James Barry, Samuel Forde, William Willes, Daniel Maclise, Robert Lowe Stopford, John Henry Noblett, G. M. W. Atkinson, J. Stokes, J. M. Connell, John E. Bosanquet and Samuel Uvedale.

The Cork School of Design was represented by  its headmaster, the animal and genre painter Richard Robert Scanlon (fl. 1826-64), and students Drummond, Casey and Kemp. In April of that same year, Scanlan, 'of the School of Design',  had exhibited a painting of A Dead Mallard, at Mr. A. D. Roche's premises in Patrick Street. This would indicate that Scanlan had been appointed to the position of headmaster of the School of Design by that time, although Strickland says that he remained in London 'until 1853, when he was appointed master in the Cork School of Design.' [Cork Examiner, April 28, 1852, p. 2, col. 6, see also W. G. Strickland, Vol II, p. 324 and J. Francis Maguire, p. 332] Scanlon catered to popular taste: his car-driving scenes, Drogheda to Dundalk and Donnybrook to Dublin were issued as lithographs, as were many of his other pictures. He also painted portraits and watercolour portrait groups, described by Crookshank and Glin as 'charmingly evocative of the leisured society of Victorian Ireland'. [A. Crookshank & Glin, p. 193]

Architect Henry Hill showed several drawings; Benjamin Woodward and Sir Thomas Deane's Design for a Town Hall was included--it was painted by Deane, who also drew the Examination Hall of the Queen's College, Cork; Atkins and Johnson showed Selected Designs for Town Hall, Cork; J. Hargrave, another Design for a Town Hall; while architects J. Hurley and Richard Brash were also represented by drawings. [J. Francis Maguire, p. 335] William Ringrose Atkins also showed his drawings for the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, (St. Maries of the Isle Church, School and Convent), a substantial gothic edifice which had been founded in that same year, 1852, by Catherine McCauley. [T. F. McNamara, p. 66] Atkins undertook a considerable amount of work in Cork at this time, concentrating mainly on churches and institutions: The Cork Agricultural Institute on Model Farm Road (built towards the end of the 1850's), Our Lady's Hospital (completed 1852) and the Asylum on the main Douglas Road have also been attributed by T. F. McNamara to this same architect. [T. F. McNamara, p. 70] Atkins' most substantial building of this period is the District Lunatic Asylum, originally conceived by the architect as three separate large buildings, although later united into one massive Gothic edifice of uncoursed rubble masonry, measuring nearly one thousand feet in length. It was completed in 1852. [T. F. McNamara, p. 106]

A view of The Fortress of Gibraltar from the Spanish Border by Sir George Hudson, Bart., of Dublin, was one of the many works by amateur artists in the 1852 Cork National Exhibition; another was a view of Tintern Abbey by Mrs. Creagh, of Cork--one of a number of amateur women artists. Other lady amateurs were; Miss Allman, of Bandon; Isabella Ashley and Jane Bradshaw 'of the School of Design, Dublin'; Miss Grace Callaghan and Anne Carroll, of Cork; Miss C. Bradell, of Mallow; Miss T. N. Deane, Mrs. J. Ball, Mrs. Creagh, Mrs. Tottenham and Mrs. William Bradford, "whose clever picture of a glimpse of the lovely hill of Glanmire, seen through the arch of the railway bridge of Blackrock, was deservedly admired"; the Misses Seward, the Misses Nash, E. Murphy, Miss Reeves, Miss Kift, and Emeline Helena Morgan, all of Cork. Mrs. Fitzgibbon, of Sidney House, Cork, whose claims 'to the character of an artist are based equally on her command of the chisel and the brush' exhibited a painting entitled Star Gazing, and a sculpture group Venus and Cupid. [J. Francis Maguire, pp. 333, 347]

'Gentlemen Amateurs' included John W. Spread, who showed The Belgian Mother and Carrigrohane; Richard Dowman, who showed pen and ink drawings; the Hon. W. Evans Freke--'spirited stags'--and James Beale. Richard Dunscombe Parker, 'at once a naturalist and an artist', was represented by some of his elaborate paintings of birds, while Hodder Westropp's sketches of Italian scenery were considered 'clever and tasteful'. Other amateurs were Henry Morgan, Fouhey, P. Lindsay, J. Spiers Morgan, Dr. Green, George Nash and J. Weale, all of Cork.  and Thomas Walker, of Bandon. [Cn. "The First Cork Exhibition", JCHAS, Vol. VI, 1900, p.224; J. Francis Maguire, p. 334]]

Subscribers to the Irish Art Union ballot were advised early in September to visit Fletcher's Gallery, to inspect the engraving of Irish Courtship, or Wayside Courtesy  by Michelangelo Hayes, which was one of the prizes in the 1852 Art Union ballot. The three other prize paintings had titles which reflected typical 19th century preoccupations: Napoleon Contemplating his Abdication, The Whist Party and The Harem. [Cork Examiner, 8th Sept. 1852, p. 2, col. 5]

The Youghal lace school opened in 1852, under the guidance of Mother Mary Ann Smith of the Presentation Convent, who had worked out the techniques involved in making Point-de-Milan lace. [Patrick V. O'Sullivan "Kenmare Lace" Irish Arts Review 1991-1992, p. 106]


The newspapers were keen to report on the success of the new Cork School of Design, students of which obtained ten prizes at the art schools' exhibition at Gore House in London, in 1853. The prizewinning students were Michael A. O'Leary, William Patterson, Frederick Hosford, Brian Dillon, William Heazle, John S. Morgan and Ann Bradford. [Cork Examiner, 16th January 1854, p. 3, col. 3] William Heazle (1845-72) who had commenced his training under William Willes at the School of Art three years before, went on to study at South Kensington. Although subsequently offered a position as a teacher in London, he returned to Cork, where, after some years, he abandoned his career as an artist and took up the study of medicine (q. v. 1858). [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 468]

The report of the 'Government School of Art' committee for 1853 listed the achievements of these students, as well as the earlier successes of William L. Casey, Francis Holton, John J. Brennan, Francis Cunningham, Huldah Beale and Eliza Olden, this last receiving praise for her compositions of fruit, flowers, birds and shells. Most of the prizes were awarded for drawings of ornamental devices, or drawings from the casts. The drawings were categorised as either 'linear' or 'shaded'.

The Lord Mayor, in the course of a long and impassioned speech, was at pains to point out that successful students were not just drawn from the privileged classes of the city: Francis Cunningham, 'the son of a mechanic' had obtained a medal, while a prize-winning student of the previous year, who now worked as a lithographer, was paralysed from the waist down and had previously been confined in an institution. Another former student, a deaf and dumb boy, also worked now as a lithographer. Maguire cited other cases of 'Art-Workmen' improving themselves through diligent study at the School of Art.
The report also listed the career successes of former Cork students. John J. Drummond had been appointed Master at Llanelly School of Art in Carmarthen, Wales; William L. Casey was now 2nd Master at the Limerick School of Art; John J. Brennan was a Scholar at Somerset House, London (the Royal Academy), while John Kemp was training as an art master at the same establishment. Frederick Hosford had won a Scholarship to Somerset House.
A soiree was held on Thursday, October 11th, 1853, for the purpose of presenting the prizes and medals to the successful students. The Mayor, John Francis Maguire--'I reverence true art, and honour true Artists'--presided. He was unhesitant about promoting the objectives of the school:

Your firegrate must now do something more than answer its main purpose, of diffusing heat through your apartment; and whether it be of iron, of brass, or of steel, it must gratify the eye, if not satisfy the taste, by the appropriateness and elegance of its decoration. Your fender must now be an article of ornament as well as use. The chandelier which lights your room, the candelabrum which crowns your table, must be something more than serviceable and enduring--it may be graceful--it may be fanciful--it may be classical--but it must be beautiful. [Report of the Cork Government School of Art, Royal Institution, Nelson Place, Cork. (Cork: Henry Ridings, 19 Cook Street, 1854), p. 8]

The landscape painter Thomas Frederick Collier had been appointed second master in the School of Design, under headmaster Richard R. Scanlon. Collier was to be appointed Head Master seven years later, but held the position for only a few months, before resigning in disgrace. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 187]

In 1853 Daniel Maclise painted The Falconer. [C. Fitz-Simon, p. 144; is this the painting now in the Crawford Gallery, or the one in Fota House?] Sometime around this year also, the sculptor Richard Barter, having returned to Ireland from London where he had spent several years, settled near his native city, at St. Ann's Hill, Blarney, and set up a studio there. Barter was to remain in Blarney, where he had a congenial existence, playing the flagolet, collecting curios and sculpting portrait busts, for the rest of his life, although he continued to exhibit occasionally at the RHA and the RA. His bust of The Rev. Francis Mahony ("Father Prout") is in the collection of the Crawford Art Gallery, having been acquired at the end of the 19th century. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 46]

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Less than four years after the opening of the School of Design, problems had arisen in relation to the student intake. The high fees of five shillings a quarter prevented most children from artisan and working class families from attending, whereas the children (mainly girls) of wealthy Cork families were flocking to attend the new fashionable School of Design. In attempting to broaden the student intake and also satisfy the Cork caste system, the committee of the Cork School hit upon the following formula for fees, starting at the most exclusive level:

--a rate sufficiently high to ensure only a select and limited number, at a guinea a quarter, who will attend twice a week, and will be allowed to a certain extent to deviate from the strict system laid down by the Government, so far as to pursue landscape and figure drawing; a more moderate fee of 10s a quarter for those who are unwilling or unable to pay the first class fees--and thirdly, a fee of 5s a quarter for the mechanic and artisan class, which will also enjoy the privilege of attending without charge the perspective and geometrical model class, . . [Cork Examiner,  27th September 1854, p. 2, col. 7]

In December 1854, the School was forced to close, due to the reluctance of the government to continue providing practically all the funding, and the pupils were 'scattered'. Gibson gives an account of the crisis, and its resolution:

Under the same roof is the School of Design, which was established in 1850. It received, at this time an annual grant of £200 from the corporation, and a special annual grant of £500 from parliament, afterwards reduced to £450. But these grants were withdrawn in 1854, and, as a consequence, the school was closed. This state of things was not to be endured. A meeting was called in the lecture-room of the Royal Cork Institution, of the friends of education and art; and afterwards a more public meeting, of the Cork rate-payers, who unanimously resolved to tax themselves, (under the Act of 1855, for the establishment of libraries and museums) to the amount of one half-penny in the pound, for the revival and support of the school; and thus the school was put on its legs again. [ Rev. C. B. Gibson, The History of the County and City of Cork, Vol.II, (Cork: 18  , reprinted 1974), pp 319-20]

Alongside the faltering School of Design, some private art classes continued to thrive in the city. In January, the watercolourist Robert Lowe Stopford, writing from 43 Patrick Street, advertised his art classes for the forthcoming year: Ladies art classes on Tuesdays and Fridays; Gentlemen's on Mondays and Thursdays, while the artist promised that schools and private families would be attended with 'the same assiduity as heretofore'. These art classes were characterised by the use of an extensive portfolio of Stopford's own topographical drawings and watercolours as aids for his students, and were a successful part of Cork's artistic life for many years. One of Stopford's finest extant watercolours is a magnificent view of the Cork Opera House, constructed in 1856 and originally known as the Athenaeum Theatre. (The Crawford Gallery had this watercolour on loan for many years. Although it has now been returned to its owner, a fairly good copy, or replica, possibly by Stopford himself, is still in the permanent collection. A detail from the original, showing the School of Design beside the Athenaeum, is reproduced in the "History of the Crawford Gallery", on p.  ) [Cork Examiner, 4th Jan. 1854, p. 2 col. 1] The Athenaeum, destroyed by fire in the mid-twentieth century, was an elegant, colonnaded building. It is mentioned in the Cork Examiner in November 1854 as housing, in 'the circular room', two full-length portraits by James Butler Brenan; one of James Roche, and a companion piece, 'Mr. Tobin, of Ballincollig'. [Cork Examiner, 3rd Nov. 1854, p. 2, col. 6; W. G. Strickland lists the former portrait, James Roche, President of the Cork Institute, as being in the Commercial Buildings, Cork, in 1913] Also in November, John Hogan is mentioned as having just completed another version of his Dead Christ, for the Rev. Dr. Mullock, Bishop of Newfoundland. (the original plaster cast of this, taken by Hogan himself and acquired from the artist's widow by W. H. Crawford, is in the Crawford collection, Cat. No. 665). Hogan was also reported to be at work on a group 'for the Paris Exhibition', but the title of the work was is unrecorded. Turpin does record Hogan travelling to Paris in 1857, to supervise the casting of his massive Limerick bronze of Daniel O'Connell. 

In 1854, the architectural partnership of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward, which had recently transferred from Cork to Dublin, designed the new Museum building at Oxford University; the previous year, at the RHA, they had shown drawings for Three Elevations of the Proposed Town Hall in Cork; the following year, 1855, they designed the Crown Life Building in London, and in 1856 the Oxford Union Debating Room. In 1857, they worked on Kilkenny Castle, and the year after designed the Kildare Street Club in Dublin. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 199; C. Fitz-Simon, pp. 146-150; M. Bence-Jones, p. 168] Many of the spirited stone carvings on these buildings were carried out by James and John O'Shea, sons of a stonemason who had worked on Convamore House near Fermoy, around 1818 (q.v.).

John Smith-Barry of Fota, admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1854, engaged the English architect Anthony Salvin (who also designed Smith-Barry's house at Marbury in Cheshire) to design a new club house for the RCYC in Queenstown (now Cobh), Co. Cork. The building, an elegant Italianate villa with external staircases and loggia, was built on Columbine Quay that same year.


The second meeting of the School of Design committee that Gibson referred to was held on August 28th, 1855, at the Royal Cork Institution. There was a substantial turnout of city fathers, members of parliament and public representatives. The Chairman was the High Sheriff, Colonel Beamish. Richard Dowden started the proceedings with a delicate description of the previous meeting: "A few people had collected in the drawing school, and had conversed on the matter, and the conversation, which they held, led to the conviction that a very small rating of one half-penny in the pound in the city, would procure a sum of £200 a-year." {Cork Examiner, August 29th, 1855, p. 2, col. 6] The little conversation had obviously been quite businesslike: Dowden went on to outline a full financial proposal for funding the School. If the new rating raised £200, then the Board of Trade would pay the salaries of the masters. The headmaster would receive £250 a year, while his two assistant masters would receive £20 per annum each, 'and a promise of promotion'. (Dowden assured those present that they could get 'competent young men' on those terms.) The Board of Trade would also pay a small materials grant, about £50 a year, which would bring their total contribution to around £350. That would give the School committee a budget of over £500, which would amply cover their outgoings of £300 for salaries, £50 a year rent, £30 for fire and light, £20 for printing and advertising, and £20 each for a secretary and attendant. Dowden was not sanguine about raising much money from fees; what he was concerned with was ensuring that the children of tradesmen could get a better education, thereby increasing their capacity to earn a living.

Colonel Beamish concurred with all of this and expressed support for the rating proposal, in spite of the 'general horror of taxation' amongst the citizens of Cork, who were already being taxed at a punitive level. Beamish himself had been instrumental at parliamentary level in laying the foundations for this rating proposal. At the passing of a bill for the establishment of libraries and museums in Ireland, he had had inserted the words "Schools of Science and Art", thus enabling the burden of support for the Cork School of Art to be legally transferred to the rate-payers of the city.

Maguire then spoke strongly in support of the proposal. He stressed the beneficial effects of the new system, which, being instituted through Act of Parliament, would ensure that the children of the poorer classes in National Schools would receive art education from the School of Design masters, while the School itself would cater for the artisan and middle classes. Dr. O'Connor picked up on this last point, noting that children from well-off families had attended the School on reduced fees, when they could well afford to pay the full rate. However, both O'Connor and Beamish were at pains to point out that the attendence of these middle-class children at the school did not interfere with 'the general instruction'.

Dowden then spoke again, commenting that in the two years he had been involved in the School's administration, there had been no 'jobbing or mismanagement', or if there had, it was since he had left:

He was aware that a few of the Corporation who did not know the  rules, had sent in lads who could afford to pay, but the Committee sent them back again. It was a rule that no boy should be admitted that the entire committee did not agree to. As to the additional class, those who paid a guinea a quarter did not receive a bit more attention than those who paid 10s, or 2s. 6d., or nothing at all. [Ibid]

The 'rules' that Dowden alluded to were in fact a sort of compact between the committee of the School and the Corporation, whereby the members of the Corporation were given the right to nominate 20 free students a year to the School, in return for their grant of £200. The members of the Corporation were evidently abusing this privilege, by nominating well-off children. The motion was put to the vote, carried, and the Cork School of Art re-opened on Thursday January 8th of the following year.

William Marsh, at his sales rooms on South Mall, continued his slightly unorthodox but obviously effective way of marketing works by George Atkinson, by announcing another "Grand Ballot of 12 Splendid OIL PAINTINGS (by Atkinson), and 21 Books of Beautiful VIEWS in NORWAY, executed in Tinted Lithograph; the entire valued at £150--One Hundred Subscribers at 20s Each." The paintings to be disposed of were as follows:

No. Paintings
Royal Yacht previous to her Majesty landing
2 Ship Progress in the Great Hurricane at Balaklava
3 Summer Night Scene (Moon rising)
4 Regatta, Start for the Queen's Cup
5 Tantillon Castle, Firth of Forth
6 Sunset Composition
7 Snow Scene (Queenstown)
8 Sunrise after a Snow Storm
9 View on the Hardanger Fiord
10 View on the Little Island
11 Midnight Scene
12 H.M. Ship Ajax off Haulbowline

[Footnote: Cork Examiner, October 8th, 1855, p. 1, col. 3]      


Cork School of Art re-opened on Thursday January 8th 1856, with David Wilkie Raimbach (godson and pupil of Sir David Wilkie) as headmaster. Raimbach was no stranger to schools of art in Ireland, having already served as second master in Belfast and headmaster of the Limerick art school. However, like his predecessor Scanlan, he was destined to remain in Cork for less than a year. He resigned in 1857 and was appointed headmaster of the Bermingham School of Art the following year. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II. p. 272]

By Friday evening, January 9th, there were 71 students attending, a number 'which bids fair for a large and prosperous school'. The gallery and drawing schools had been redecorated, and the casts rearranged 'to the best advantage'. In addition, students were offered the treat of free admission, 'through the kindness of Mr. Hampton', to the Diorama of Napoleon's Campaigns and the War in the Crimea which was then on exhibition in Cork. [Cork Examiner, 14th January, 1856, p. 2, col. 4] Less than two weeks later, the number of students had risen to 89, and the Examiner expressed satisfaction at the high proportion of students from the artisan class "--the class of all others on whom art education is capable of conveying the largest amount of practical good" [Cork Examiner, 18th January 1856, p. 2, col. 5] Early in February two students, Michael O'Leary and Francis Cunningham, were appointed Pupil Teachers, which entitled them to free tuition themselves, as well as £10 per annum. Prize studentships were awarded to Augustus O'Leary and John Morrough. [Cork Examiner,  8th February 1856, p. 2, col. 7]

Sir John Gordon took the chair when the Committee of the School of Design met at two o'clock on February 28th, to discuss a new scheme whereby the Second Master would provide some tuition for National School pupils in the area. Under the terms of the scheme, five local National Schools would receive two hours a week art instruction from School of Design staff members. There was some discussion about how this was to be payed for, but it was agreed to go ahead with the scheme.

Mr. Hewit then read the statement of the attendance to the school up to the present time. In the morning class 15 males and 14 females attended, and in the evening class 107 males, and 7 females; giving a total of 143, of which 26 males and 4 females received instruction in perspective; 32 males and 4 females in geometry, and 35 males in mechanism. The fees received up to the present amounted to £40 13s. 4d.

The Secretary reported that Mr. Hewit had presented to the schools casts of Milton, Shakespeare, Goldsmith and O'Connell, and also a work on heraldry. [Cork Examiner, February 29th 1856, p. 2, col. 7]

The number of students was rapidly built up again, so that by March 1856 there were 156 paying pupils in the school. Included amongst these were 30 engineers, 8 carpenters, 4 cabinet-makers, as well as carvers, gilders, modellers, photographers, lithographers, Japanners, decorators and house painters. There were 4 architects, 6 builders, and ten female trainee teachers. In addition to the various scholarships awarded by the School through the Department of Art (under which, in 1855, eight Cork students were studying in London or Paris),  no less than three local scholarships had been instituted; one from the School committee, and three from the Mayor. Avanced students were allowed to study 'practical anatomy' in the dissecting room of Dr. Caesar's School of Medicine, while one of the committee members made his extensive gardens available to the students twice weekly.

The Spring Term of the School of Design commenced on April 1st, 1856, and two days later the Committee held one of their fortnightly meetings to discuss progress. At this meeting Messrs. Hewitt, Edden, Corbett, Spread, Beale, Thomas Deane, Professor England and the headmaster David Raimbach, discussed the design of the new School medal which was to be awarded to prize-winning pupils. Mr. Dunscombe laid out the various students' designs, which were examined with interest. The first design selected was by art student Michael O'Leary, who got £5 for his trouble; the second selected was by Henry O'Shea, who got £2, at the instigation of the archdeacon. The Committee then moved its attention to more troubling matters. There was laughter when the poor remuneration offered by the 'liberal Board of Education' was discussed. The Board expected National Schools in the area to employ art teachers from the School of Design, on a salaries of a mere £5 a year. [Cork Examiner, 4th April 1856, p.3, col .1] If the School had difficulty in placing its graduates, it also had to fight to keep student numbers up.
Lectures in architecture, given by Dr. Raimbach, were a new feature of the Spring Term at the School of Design. These were an addition to the usual course of technical lectures such as those devoted to drawing toothed gear and machinery. [Cork Examiner, 18th March 1856, p. 2, col. 2]

At the following committee meeting, chaired by Sir John Gordon, it was agreed to halve the fees to the mid-day classes, to 10 shillings a term.  Also, the boys of St. Stephens Hospital were to be allowed to attend the School of Design on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for a reduced charge of £10 per annum. [Cork Examiner, 16th April 1856, p. 2, col. 5]

The examinations at the School of Design, although intended primarily for students of the school, were also open to interested amateurs. In October 1856, Mr. Bowler of the Department of Science and Art held examinations in Freehand and Mechanical Drawing. At the same time an exhibition was mounted in the Rotondo room of the newly-built Athenaeum theatre, beside the School, to coincide with this important event, with works being borrowed from committee members and Cork collectors, including William Crawford, Francis Sealy, Cooper Penrose and James Lambkin. [Cork Examiner, 22nd October 1856, p. 2, col. 5] The exhibition was opened on a Friday evening, the day after the examinations were held, with a gala reception attended by over four hundred people, prizes to the students and a band in attendance. The Mayor of Cork, Alderman Scott, spoke at length about progress in the school; how student numbers were approaching 200, while another 450 pupils in various National Schools were benefitting from art classes run by Mr. Sheils. After a speech by Mr. David Urquhart, in which he expressed considerable surprise in finding a thriving art establishment 'in such a remote corner of the British Empire', Mayor Scott awarded medals to prize-winning students, glossing over the slightly awkward fact that the medals had not been completed in time for the presentations. 'London Medals' were awarded to Thomas Petty, John Morrough, Henry O'Shea, John S. Morgan, Jane White, Alice Wright, William Patterson, Elizabeth Max, Augustin O'Leary and Jane Morgan. Jane Morgan (1832-1899), the daughter of Cork Society of Arts committee member James Morgan, had entered the School of Art five years previously, and had received her first tuition in drawing from R. R. Scanlon.  [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 128]

The Art Inspector Mr. Bowler then spoke, apologising to the audience for the Department of Science and Art's decision to force the temporary closure of the School two years previously, but emphasising that it had been a necessary move, to 'create a more direct local interest', and so place the School on a firmer footing. Mayor Scott took the rostrum again and awarded certificates to Michael O'Leary and Henry O'Shea (the latter also received the Mayor's Scholarship) for their medal designs, and to Jane Morgan and Fanny Harrington, for their lace designs. William H. Hill, of the famous Cork architectural dynasty, was awarded a certificate for Mechanical Drawing. (William's son Arthur was architect of the 1884 extension and remodelling which forms the present Crawford Art Gallery). Other prize winners were William H. Hall, Edward Martin (perspective), Abraham Cross, Sarah Fullwood, T. Harlowe and Mary Long (geometry), Augustine O'Leary (model drawing). [Cork Examiner,  27th October 1856, p. 3, col. 3]

James Mahoney, who had organised the first Cork Art Union exhibitions in the early 1840's, returned to Ireland after several years' travelling on the Continent, principally in Spain. He exhibited no less than seventeen watercolours at the RHA in 1856, and was also made an associate of the Academy in that year. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 89]


In July 1857, David Raimbach resigned as headmaster of the Cork School of Design. Raimbach, who had not held the job for any great length of time,  was succeeded after some time by Edward Sheil, [Cork Examiner, 31st July 1857, p. 2, col. 4]

Award-winning students in 1857 included Albert Adams, John O'Hea (who spent much time sketching the environs of Cork Harbour along with Henry Albert Hartland), John Morrogh and Henry O'Shea, who received distinctions in Artistic Anatomy. Richard West, Thomas Harlowe, Augustine O'Leary and William E. Uniacke, also won prizes for Perspective drawings, and William Baily received a distinction in Mechanical Drawing. Henry O'Shea, who was the Mayor's scholar at the School of Art, exhibited two large sepia drawings at the School in early August 1858. The drawings, about three foot in length by two foot in breadth, depicted the 'Emperor and Empress of the French'. They were based on photographs. [Cork Examiner, 3rd August 1857, p. 2, col. 6]

After the mid-summer break, when the school reopened, the number of students (121 in all) showed little change from the previous year. Edward Shiel, the new headmaster, taught mechanical drawing. The students' prize fund was nearly exhausted, in spite of committee member Francis Leahy's contribution of £5. Leahy was deputised to wait upon the Earl of Cork and respectfully solicit £10 from that gentleman. [Cork Examiner, 9th September 1857, p. 2, col. 7] 
In September 1857, as a result of three students, O'Leary, O'Shea and J. S. Morgan, having been awarded silver medals in the Department of Science and Art's national competitions, the School was presented (on loan) by the department with:

Owen Jones' History of Ornament, in six volumes, folio, splendidly illustrated, embracing examples of Assyrian, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Celtic, Italian, Moresque, Arabian, Medieval, Byzantine, and Elizabethan. A set of photographs of crystal cups. Arms and armour, Enamels and Buhl work. One electrotype Cellini Tazza, Seige, Tankard 17th century and a Cinque Cento Plate--Casts of Gothic capitals, Madeleine Scroll, Greek Frieze, and architectural examples, and a set of solid models. [Cork Examiner, 25th September 1857, p. 2, col. 7]

On the 4th November 1857, the Examiner listed the prize-winning students of the School of Design: Medals were awarded to Elizabeth Max, Jane Morgan, Jane White, Fanny Harrington, Margaret Hill and Alice Wright (an Art Pupil Teacher). The male students awarded medals were: Richard West, William Stopford, Francis Kemp, William Watkins, John O'Hea, Francis Cunningham (an Art Pupil Teacher), Henry O'Shea, John Morrogh and Augustine O'Leary. A total of 26 medals were awarded, while 20 of the winning students' works were forwarded for the National Competition. The assessor was Mr. Henry A. Bowler, Art Inspector from the Department of Science and Art. The distribution of prizes took place in the Athenaeum on the evening of November 4th.

The number of ladies present was very large and the attendance was exceedingly fashionable. The proceedings were opened by his worship the Mayor, who . . . made special allusion to the distinction won by Mr. O'Hea, son of Mr. James O'Hea, Mr. Henry O'Shea and Master Stopford, son of the well-known artist of that name . . . . Mr. Bowler, the government inspector, at the request of the Mayor, made a short address to the audience present, in the course of which he allued to the success of two Cork students, Mr. Drummond and Mr. Casey, the latter of whom was now engaged in works which evinced great ability as well as refinement of mind. He congratulated the public of Cork on the growing taste for art, in which it was one of the most forward cities in the United Kingdom. The largest number of medals that he was entitled to award to any school was thirty, and theirs had got 21, so that they had gone very near the maximum. . . He also observed that a prize studentship had been gained by Mr. Augustine O'Leary, and that mr. Marmer and Mr. O'Shea had done so much towards it, that it was probable they should easily attain it next year. . . After the business of the evening had concluded, M. Roeckel favored the audience with some admirably performed airs on the organ. [Cork Examiner, 6th November 1857, p. 2, col. 6]

The following day, November 5th, the exhibition of award-winning work was opened to the public in the Round Room of the Athenaeum Theatre, next door to the School of Design, which had opened to the public the previous year. [Cork Examiner, 4th November 1857] The School of Design exhibition included a group of paintings by Richard Lyster, amongst them The Baron of Grogswig, based on a scene in Dickens' novel Nicholas Nickleby,  which had previously been shown at the Royal Academy and had been purchased by Mr. N. D. Murphy of Cork. This painting, which was also exhibited at the RHA in 1859, is now in the Crawford Gallery permanent collection (Cat. No.    ). [Strickland records this painting in 1913 as being in the collection of Mr. F. Thompson, of Lauriston, in Glanmire, Co. Cork, who also owned Lyster's The Spinning Wheel]

Another painting by Lyster in the exhibition "But, mother--he's going away", inspired by a ballad of Samuel Lover's, was later shown in the 1858 annual exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and attracted a good critical notice in the The Nation, which was subsequently reprinted in the Cork newspapers, "The girl's attitude and face, full of surprise and sorrow at the departure of her sweetheart, is well contrasted with that of the sturdy mother, standing with arms akimbo in the doorway. . ." [Cork Examiner, 7th June 1858, p. 2, col. 4] Lyster at this time had an address at 43, Patrick Street, Cork, but he moved in 1859 to 44 Cove Street. [A. Stewart, Vol. II, p. 211] Other works shown by him at the Royal Hibernian Academy between 1854 and 1862 included The Irish Hood, The Eve of St. Agnes, The Fisherman's Return, A Stitch in Time--A Street Scene in Cork and Girl at a Brook. [A. Stewart, Vol. II, p. 211] 

The School of Design exhibition also included works by James Brennan, John Brennan and Mr. Stopford, as well as the headmaster, Edward Shiel, whose painting Excelsior (also now in the collection of the Crawford Gallery, Cat. No.    ) received particular praise in the Cork Examiner  of the day [Cork Examiner, 6th November 1857, p. 2, col. 6], although a far better description of the painting was published in that same newspaper some years later:

An artist's studio is exposed by the flickering light of an expiring candle, rendered still more feeble by the struggling beams of the dawning day. It is occupied by two persons only. Overcome by the weariness of a long night's vigil, the beautiful young wife of the painter lies sleeping in an armchair; while the pale, spirit-sustained artist sits before his easel, brush in hand, giving the last touch--that with which inspiration imparts life to the canvas--to the picture, with which honour, reputation--fame--are all involved. The motto of that picture is "Excelsior!"--and that has been the motto of the artist's life of Edward Shiel. [Cork Examiner: January 6th, 1860, p. 2 , col. 6]

(One version of the painting Excelsior! is in the collection of the Crawford Art Gallery, Cat. No. 374. A second version of this painting was sold at the Gorry Gallery in Dublin in 1988. The Gorry painting is probably that referred to by Strickland, who relates that Excelsior! was sold after the artist's death in 1869, for one hundred guineas, although it was subsequently resold, in 1900, for only nineteen pounds. [Strickland, Vol II, p. 350])

Outside the School of Design, other artists were busy. In April 1857, readers of the Cork Examiner were enjoined to visit the studio of John Day, where there were 'many clever landscapes',  including one which Day was working on for the exhibition of the Glasgow Art Union. [Cork Examiner, 8th April 1857 p. 2, col. 5] In June, the young Bandon-born artist Charles Henry Cook exhibited a painting entitledThe Irish Emigrant, in Clarke's establishment in Patrick Street.

The figures, which occupy the foreground are those of a peasant and his wife and children sitting on the shore of a bay, and the positions of the two former are expressive of deep sorrow. The time is sunset, and the scenery around is painted with elegance and good taste. The picture will be a desirable addition to a drawingroom or gallery of paintings. [Cork Examiner, 29th June 1857, p. 2 col. 6]

Charles Henry Cook painted portraits, scenes of Irish life and landscapes, working in Cork, where he lived with his widowed mother in Sunday's Well, until about 1870, when he moved to Bath, in England. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 205]


1858 was not an auspicious year for the School of Design. In February the Examiner reported that the roof of the School had fallen into such disrepair that whenever there was heavy rain, the sculpture casts had to be moved backward and foreward to prevent them being damaged by rain: "During the late heavy rain the Adonis, one of the noble casts from the antique which have come from the hand of no less an artist than Canova, has become irreparably damaged." [Cork Examiner, 26th February 1858, p. 4, col. 5]

Rain was not the only problem afflicting the School; it might have been hoped that the Department's generous loan to the School of the six volumes of Jones' History of Ornament, plus a set of photographs of crystal cups and sundry other items, would have quelled criticism of the Department of Science and Art's policies, but sadly such was not the case. A leading article in the Cork Examiner in June 1858 described the Department in London as an autocracy which promoted 'quackery in art instruction, dissatisfaction amongst teachers and discontent amongst pupils'. The chief reason for this outburst was the recent issuing of a directive which required that the Cork School of Design should endeavour to take under its wing of instruction no less than one per cent of the population of the city. In 1858, one per cent of the population of Cork would have amounted to over 800 persons. Even if this were to happen, the writer described it as a 'delusion' to believe that the education that 800 pupils could receive from so few masters would be of any practical value:

No doubt, this education for the millions will look well in annual reports and parliamentary returns, and may greatly tend to the glory of the department. But the benefit of an infinitesimal dose of teachers in a vast flood of pupils will, in all probability, be so very diminutive, that in a short time even the ability of the department will fail to be sufficient to point it out. Insdead of a great system of art education, Parliament and the country will see in it a gigantic sham, and in all probability will be inclined to class the department in the same category as its work. Undoubtedly it must awaken the anger of masters to find themselves obliged to convey art teaching to pupils in hundreds, and never to hope to have an eleve capable of going beyond his pot-hooks and hangers. . . In every respect this department has been going from bad to worse. Of late years stinginess has become so prominent a qualification, that one is tempted to ask how are the vast sums appropriated which are voted by the State? Its assistance to local schools has gradually been dwindling, and is now, indeed, pretty much on a par with the food given to that celebrated animal, whose fate is frequently quoted as a warning to the dispensers of short-commons. The salaries of the teachers were the straw a-day which the department gave to the steed under its control, but finding that animal obstinately continuing to live, they have deprived it of even that nutriment. [Cork Examiner, 21st June 1858, p. 2, col. 5]

As further evidence of this stinginess, the correspondent quoted the  case of three silver medals which had been awarded to pupils from the Cork School, some time past. As the weeks passed, the pupils anxiously awaited the arrival of their silver medals. The weeks drew into months. Two years passed, and finally the medals arrived. Unfortunately, they had been transmuted into copper! Describing this as 'the alchemy of the department', the writer criticised the 'awkward apology' which had accompanied the medals, and commented that the Department of Art would have been better to have 'brazened it out'. The design of the medal also came in for criticism:

. . .the design is bad, comprising only broken-necked figures, such as Justice leering like a harlot, or Genius, recognisable only by the indications of the poverty which is so often his fate--especially when he has had to deal with departments--or the effigy of Queen Victoria, that could not bear comparison with the head upon a penny. [Ibid.]
To assist in fund-raising, a 'Soiree and Promenade' was held on October 12th, when the School (as well as the rooms of the Cork Institution) were thrown open to the public. The works of local artists and of students were exhibited, along with some 'splendid specimens of Photography and Chromolithography'. The Committee of the School had hoped to secure an exhibition called 'the Museum of Art' which had been shown recently in Clonmel, but were unable to afford the cost of bringing it to Cork. [Cork Examiner, 6th September 1858, p. 2, col. 5]

In contrast with previous years, there were few works from outside collections or from professional artists included in the annual exhibition of students' works held in the Athenaeum early in November. Richard Lyster contributed one small portrait of a very young man in oils, and [William?] Casey showed some sketches. One old master painting, from the collection of the Rev. James O'Sullivan, parish priest of Blackrock, was shown. The correspondent of the Examiner admitted that it was beyond his ability to decide whether it was by 'Holbein or Le Duc'. Amongst the works shown by students, John O'Hea's  copy in watercolours of a painting by 'Karl Hegg' was singled out for praise, while student teacher Henry O'Shea's portrait of a grizzled bearded old Italian man had been awarded a medal. Another student teacher, Miss Wright, also had a painting on show, a study from life. Amongst those works that had received medals were three designs for carpets. There were also designs for lace and wallpaper on exhibition. A medal was also awarded to Miss Thorpe for her drawing from a cast.

Outside the School, the death of John Hogan at the end of March occupied much space in the columns of the Cork Examiner. John Turpin, in his monograph on the artist, deriving in part from the newspapers of the day, gives an excellent account of the artist's life and death, to which readers are referred.

Another untimely death in 1858 was that of a Mr. Brown, who was buried in Passage churchyard. A monument for his tomb by the Cork sculptor Richard Barter was completed in May of that year, and was exhibited for a time in the artist's studio at St. Anne's Hill, Blarney. The white marble monument depicted an angel in a reclining attitude, with one wing folded--'a beautiful specimen of chiselling'--pointing a finger to the tomb beneath. [Cork Examiner, 14th May 1858, p. 3, col. 2]

More angels appeared to the Cork art world several days later, when Edward Shiel's Vision of Jacob was exhibited in Roche's, in Patrick Street. Shiel, at that time the Head Master of the School of Design, was commended for his 'novel and startling' treatment of the subject; ". . .the aeriel motion of the Angel forms, swaying and undulating around the great central figure of the Deity", with Jacob slumbering underneath. [Cork Examiner, 21st May 1858, p. 3, col. 1] Shiel's painting Excelsior (one version of which is in the Crawford Gallery collection; Cat. no.    ) was admitted to the Royal Academy's annual exhibition in May of 1858, [Cork Examiner, 5th May 1858, p. 2, col. 5] and the artist received further notice that year, in late October, when his commissioned painting The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was exhibited for a few days in the Atheneum. [Cork Examiner, 25th October 1858, p. 2, col. 4]

Towards the end of 1858, another painting by Richard Lyster--this time an unfinished studio work--was mentioned in the Examiner. The painting depicted a red-headed young man reading a ballad to a pretty country girl sitting against a cottage wall. [Cork Examiner, 10th December 1858, p. 3, col. 4]
In June of that same year, another former student of the Cork School of Design, William Heazle, exhibited his painting The Sardinian Mountaineer in Bradford's. [Cork Examiner, 21st June 1858, p. 2, col. 6] Heazle, son of the organist at St. Ann's Church in Shandon, had trained under William Willes at the School of Art eight years previously, and then for a time at South Kensington, before returning to Cork. The subject of the painting, a ragged minstrel, was depicted 'playing upon the national pipe' while seated on a rock. According to the Examiner, Heazle had studied at the Royal Academy, and hoped to exhibit his painting at a forthcoming exhibition in Liverpool. Some years after his return to Cork, Strickland records, Heazle, who specialised in painting domestic genre scenes. was to abandon his career as an artist and take up the study of medicine. He exhibited at the RHA only once, in 1861. He died, in 1872, at the home of his father, 9 Queen Street, Cork. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 468]

In 1858, after an interval of seventeen years, Robert Lowe Stopford again exhibited at the RHA, showing two views of North Wales as well as two Irish views. He was to exhibit at the Academy each year for the next seven years, from an address at 17 South Mall, Cork, followed by another long break of fourteen years. Judging from the titles of his watercolours, Stopford seems to have visited Scotland around 1859; apart from his Scottish and Welsh views, his topographical watercolours almost invariably depict scenes in Cork or Kerry. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 190] 

A painter from Cork, E. B. Reeves, exhibited a painting illustrating a passage from Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe, at the RHA in 1858. The passage is quoted in the catalogue: " 'My mind and senses keep touch and time,' answered Rebecca, 'and tell me alike that these Faggots are destined to consume my earthly body, and open a painful, but a brief passage to a better world. . .' " This was the only time that Reeves exhibited at the Academy. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 101]


Strickland records Captain George Halton Columb, an army officer quartered in Cork, and son of honorary RHA member Major General George Thomas Columb, sending four landscape paintings to the RHA annual exhibition in 1859. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 192. A. Stewart's Index of RHA Exhibitors does not record the existence of a George Halton Columb, but attributes all the works shown at the RHA between 1841 and 1868 to Captain Columb's father, Major General George Thomas Columb HRHA. To confuse matters further, there was a Wellington Columb exhibiting at the RHA between 1848 and 1879, who was based at the Royal Hibernian Military School in the Phoenix Park at the same time as the Major General.]

Edward Sheil, headmaster at the Cork School of Art, exhibited two works, Excelsior and The Virgin Queen of Heaven, at the annual RHA exhibition. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 146]

In Cork, work began on the church of SS. Peter and Paul, which was completed seven years later, to the designs of Edward Welby Pugin and George Ashlin. The architectural partnership of Ashlin and Pugin, formed the following year, was to last a decade.  [M. Craig, p. 293; The Dublin Builder, Vol. II, No. 20, p. 310, 1st Aug. 1860] 


In January, Edward Shiel resigned from his teaching position at the School of Art, in order to travel to Rome. Considerable regret was expressed at his leaving the school, as he had been a popular and successful teacher. Sheil, born in Coleraine, had studied at the Cork School of Art in 1857, and had subsequently been appointed second master under David W. Raimbach. He became headmaster in 1859. [Cork Examiner: January 6th, 1860, p. , col. 6]At the RHA exhibition in 1860, Edward Sheil exhibited three works, including a Sketch for a Picture of Jacob's Dream.  He was to return to Cork after a short stay in Italy.  [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 350; A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 146]

Sheil was succeeded for a brief period by Thomas Frederick Collier, who had taught at the School of Design in 1854. [A. Stewart's RHA Index of Exhibitors, Vol 1, p. 150; and W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 187] While in Cork in 1854, Collier exhibited several landscapes at the RHA--he specialised in autumnal, twilight or moonlit scenes--and again in 1860 he exhibited eleven works at the Academy. Collier held the position of Head Master for only a few months, due mainly to his being continually drunk. He was found by his pupils one morning, at the opening of the school, surrounded by the wrecks of plaster casts, which, as Strickland relates, 'he had smashed in a drunken fit'. After his removal from the school he left Cork, abandoned his wife and children and was 'not heard of afterwards', although in fact Collier does reappear as an exhibitor at the RHA twenty-eight years later, with an address in Hampstead Hill Gardens, London.  [Ibid]
After this succession of short-lived and occasionally disasterous appointments to the headmastership of the Cork School of Art, the advent of James Brenan RHA to the position in 1860 must have come as something of a relief to the committee and students of the school. In spite of his tender years--he was twenty-three years old when appointed--Brenan had had considerable experience both as an artist and educator. At an early age, after studying art in Dublin, he had assisted Owen Jones and Matthew Digby Wyatt in the decoration of the Pompeian and Roman Courts in the Crystal Palace. Returning to Dublin he taught for a period at the Dublin Society's Schools.  In 1857 he was assistant at the Bermingham School of Art, but returned to the training college at South Kensington to further his education. After some short spells in charge of arts schools at Liverpool, Taunton and Yarmouth, he was appointed headmaster of the Cork School of Art in 1860, a post he was to hold almost thirty years. Brenan's interest in art and industry, founded in the Great Exhibition of 1851, resulted in his working to revive the lace industry in the South of Ireland in the 1880's. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 77] Between 1861 and 1906, Brenan exhibited over one hundred paintings at the RHA, several of which are now in the Crawford Gallery permanent collection; notably The Prayer of the Penitent (1863), News from America  (1875), Patchwork (1892) and A Committee of Inspection, exhibited at the RHA in 1878, and later incorrectly attributed to J. B. Brenan by Strickland.
In August 1860, under its new headmaster, the annual School of Art exhibition was opened to the public. Receiving most attention was a series of photographs, each measuring three feet by two feet, by Colnaghi & Co., of Raphael's cartoons. A marble copy, by Jane Morgan, of Ariadne Abandoned was also applauded, as were a series of studies by Thomas Frederick Collier, described as 'late head master'. [Cork Examiner: August 24th, 1860, p. 2, col. 5]

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The School reopened for the winter term on October 15th, and four days later the annual inspection of the students' work by the government inspector, Mr. Wylde, took place at the Athenaeum, next door to the School of Art. Jane Morgan's life-size sculpture"Nourmahal"--the Light of the Harem (which had won a prize in Taylor competition in Dublin that same year),  gained a medal for the artist, as did drawings by Fanny and Maria Thorpe, Helen Barry and Miss Dorcas McMullen  Medals were also awarded to Sarah Gibbings and Sarah Barry, as well as to the two Strangman sisters, Elizabeth and Kate; the latter receiving an award for her drawing of the Parthenon frieze. Jane White and Sarah White won medals for their carpet designs. An oil painting of ferns, by Miss Max, got a medal, and was also selected for the national competition. Of the men, Thomas Hawarden (probably a misspelling of Hovenden, who was to be awarded a medal two years later) received praise for his landscape drawings, as did William Stopford, for his drawing of the Discobolus, which had been selected for the National Competition, while Francis Kemp and James Philips received medals for their mechanical drawings; but otherwise, even allowing that the newspaper reports would have focused on the names of prominent families, practically all the prizes and honours went to female middle-class students; a predictable development, but sad in terms of the idealism for the school's egalitarian aims which had been expressed as recently as 1854. [Cork Examiner, October 19th, 1860, p. 3, col. 3]

At the annual exhibition of the RHA, a marble bust of Daniel Corbet by the late John Hogan was exhibited. Strickland records this bust as being in the collection of 'W. Corbet, Cork' in 1913. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 494]

Early in July, a landscape by 'Mr. Day, of this city' received favourable notice in the Cork Examiner. The painting, depicting a rocky coastline with a dramatic sunset 'sinking in swaths of blood-red clouds', was on view at Clarkes, on Prince's Street. [Cork Examiner: July 6th, 1860, p. 2, col. 6]

The following month, Richard Lyster exhibited a double portrait of two of the children of Sir John Arnott; the boy sitting upon a 'great recumbent dog', while alongside, sitting rather more demurely, 'a sprightly, bright-eyed girl'. This charming group formed the foreground to a woodland scene, and the whole painting was decribed as painted with a 'pre-Raphaelite closeness of observation'. [Cork Examiner: August 24th, 1860, p. 2, col. 6] Lyster evidently had been commissioned to paint portraits of other members of the firm of Arnott & Co., and their families; for three months later, his portraits of Sir Alexander Grant and some members of Grant's family were exhibited in Mr. A. D. Roche's premises, in Patrick Street. Also on exhibition was Lyster's unfinished genre painting of a fisherman returning home to his wife and infant, 'laden with the produce of his toil and labour'. [Cork Examiner: November 26th, 1860, p. 2, col. 4] Strickland records Fishermen as being in the collection of the Rev. J. H. Webster, of Sunday's Well, in 1913. [W. G. Strickland, Vo. II, p. 41]

Late in 1860, in November, the Dublin artist William George Allman showed four landscape paintings at Tolertons, on Grand Parade. The paintings were of The Old Weir Bridge in Killarney, Narrow Water Castle, Co. Down, Luggelaw in County Wicklow, and Glengarrif Bay in County Cork. [Cork Examiner, 16th Nov. 1860, p. 3, col. 3]

Thomas Fitzpatrick (1860-1912), the political cartoonist, illustrator and satirist, was born in Cork on 27th March 1860.

The Assembly Rooms on the South Mall, designed by Cork architect and archaeologist Richard Rolt Brash, were built in 1860. The main hall of the building, adorned with Corinthian pilasters, elaborate cornices and a coffered ceiling, was nearly one hundred feet in length, and forty-five feet wide. [T. F. McNamara, p. 70] The following year, Brash designed a new Protestant Hall for Cork. [The Dublin Builder, Vol. III, No. 32, p. 485, April 15th, 1861]


The annual examination and awarding of medals and prizes at the School of Art took place early in October. The Inspector from the Department of Art and Science was Mr. Eyre Crowe. Two members of the Hill family, Arthur and Margaret, were amongst those who received awards: Margaret, for her painting of Cactus and Tiger Lily, and Arthur, later to be the architect responsible for the 1884 rebuilding of the School and galleries, for his outline drawings. Kearns D. Roche won a medal for his architectural design for an early English church, while James Phillips' studies of historical styles of ornament were throught to be 'most creditable to his diligence'. A drawing of a steam engine 'from measurements' gained William Winder a medal, as did Fanny Thorpe's Shading a Vine Branch from Nature. [Cork Examiner: 18th October 1861, p. 3, col. 4: 22nd October 1861, p. 2, cols. 3 & 4]] Other medals were awarded to Timothy O'Connell, Jonathan Hare, Rowland Harris, Jane White, Thomas Evans, Sarah Barry, James Phillips, William Perrott, Anne Baker, Michael O'Shea, James Good, John Unkles, Christina Williamson and Elizabeth Harvey. [Ibid.] The students' works were exhibited as usual in the Athenaeum, next door to the School of Art, throughout November, while the actual awards ceremony took place in December. Included in the exhibition was a group of watercolours by John Drummond (d. 1896), a former student of the Cork School who had gone on to become master of the School of Art in Bath, and art tutor to the Royal family. [Cork Examiner, 24th October 1861, p. 2, col. 4] Drummond painted many popular pictures, notably of Blackrock fishermen and girls, some of which were reproduced as prints. His most important works were The Widow's Son of Nairn and The Sister of Charity. [John Gilbert "Authors, Artists and Musical Composers", JCHAS, Vol. XIX, 1913, p. 176]
1861 was indeed a successful year for the Cork School of Art, with its students carrying off no less than twenty-one medals, while in the same year, the Metropolitan School in Dublin gained seventeen medals. However, it was commented in the Examiner that although the overall standard was high, there were too few examples of applied art: "Unfortunately, the school is not as much frequented as it ought to be by the young artisans of the city. . . mere study . . surely will be found a better mode for passing a tradesman's idle evening than the public house." [Cork Examiner, 22nd October 1861,  p. 2, col. 4] This refrain was echoed in the speech given by the Lord MAyor-elect, Alderman Maguire, during the presentation of prizes just before Christmas. Maguire commented on the large numbers of artisans working in the city, less than fifty of whom had chosen to enroll in the special Artisans Class at the School of Art. "One feels that it is well to have even so many of this interesting class, while one is ashamed at having so few." [Cork Examiner,  20th December 1861, p. 2, col. 3] The annual fees for this class were only five shillings: "Why this trifling sum would be spent by almost any one of them in the enjoyment of a single day, or the indulgence of a single night." [Ibid.]

By March 1861, Edward Sheil had returned from his sojourn on the Continent and set up a painting studio at 4 Great George's Street, where he was visited by the critic of the Cork Examiner. Shiel's younger brother George, to whom he was, according to Strickland, 'devotedly attached', was for many years on the staff of the Cork Examiner--which may account for the consistently detailed coverage given the artist in the pages of that newspaper. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 350] The correspondent (possibly George himself?) described four paintings in various states of completion. The first was a genre painting:

A labourer sits before his cottage door, in all the luxury of repose and a pipe, holding upon his knee the chubby urchin who entertains evil designs upon the hen and chickens pecking near, and listening with profound attention to the little blooming girl who squats beside him spelling out some words from the big book she has opened before her. Through the open door we see the comely matron pursuing some household avocation. [Cork Examiner: March 18th, 1861, p. 2, col. 6]

The writer reckoned that the painting expressed the 'home sentiment' as strongly as was possible for paint to do so. The next painting described was entitled Blind Mary, and was based on a poem by Davis:

There flows from her spirit such love and delight,
That the face of Blind Mary is radiant with light--
As the gleam from a homestead through darkness will show,
Or the moon glimmer soft through the fast falling snow.

The difficulties of a theme like this, as the critic correctly observed, could scarcely be over estimated. Sheil's next work was equally ambitious, a small cabinet painting entitled The Adoration of the Magi;  but the chief praise of the writer was reserved for the painting Christ Crowned with Thorns, which was described as a magnum opus: "The whole sermon it conveys flashes across the mind with the speed of lightning". Sheil's composition was  elaborate, with the 'forlorn' Christ standing on a 'ground-work of sombre shadow', while above, through an opening in the clouds, the artist depicted 'the choirs in mystical infinity of number'. These four paintings were exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy later that year. as respectively, The Labourer's Sunday Morning, Blind Mary, The Epiphany  and The Man of Sorrows. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 146]

In April, Edward Ambrose exhibited at Marsh's his Cupid and Psyche, which was to be sold by lottery. This work, which is now in the collection of the Crawford Art Gallery (Cat. No. 468), was executed in Carrera marble. It is described in the Cork Examiner of the day:

The legend of Apuleius . . . tells how Psyche, married to Cupid, was induced by the malice of her sisters, to violate the commands of her God-husband, and to look upon his countenance while sleeping. It is the moment of the commission of this act of disobedience that has been chosen by the sculptor. The beautiful form of Cupid lies stretched in an attitude of profound and easy repose, while over him bends the form of the curious, yet loving Psyche. Above her head she holds the lamp which is supposed to illuminate the countenance of the sleeper. It would be difficult to say in which figure there is the higher beauty, in her rounded form and anxious demeanour, or in his graceful figure and intense rest.In both there is a wonderful impress of life. It would be as impossible to mistake the slumber for death, as to fail to recognise the eager intensity of the gaze which is bent upon him.   [Cork Examiner 29th April, 1861, p. 2, col. 4]

Also in April, the Bandon-born artist Charles Henry Cook exhibited his painting A Munster Fair at his rooms in Patrick Street. The painting was described as 'a melange of scenes and characters to be seen at a Munster Fair'. [Cork Examiner 24th April 1861, p. 2, col. 4]

An exhibition at Wright's Fine Art Gallery, in Patrick Street, held in May, included two works by Salvator Rosa, 'pronounced by connoisseurs to be undoubted originals', while later on in the year, in September, John Connell exhibited a watercolour copy of Sir George Hayter's Joseph in Prison. [Cork Examiner: May 3rd, 1861, p. 2, col. 7; Cork Examiner: September 16th, 1861, p. 2, col. 6] This artist was probably the Cork miniaturist John Minton Connell (fl.1830-1882), rather than his nephew John Connell, the landscape painter who exhibited in Cork from 1841 to 1845 and whom Strickland says 'died young'. Connell obviously specialised in copying the work of prominent artists, for the following month he showed a watercolour copy of The Resurrection, by Carle van Loo, a painting which had been recently exhibited in Dublin. [Cork Examiner: October 12th, 1861, p. 3, col. 4]

Just before Christmas, an executor's sale was held in Cork of around two hundred paintings from the estate of the late J. J. Decluzeau; amongst the paintings listed were works by O'Connor and Grogan, as well as 'valuable specimens from the following great Masters, viz. :- Titian, Carracci, Palma, Poussin, . . ' The paintings, mostly 'cabinet sized' fetched between £2 10s and 5gns, although one work, attributed to Jacob Ruysdael, fetched £17. [Cork Examiner: December 12th, 1861, p. 2, col. 5]

In 1861, the old St. Patrick's Bridge (designed by Michael Shanahan), which had been damaged by the flooding of the river Lee, was replaced by an elegant new three-arched bridge, built of Ballintemple limestone. Both the damaged old bridge, and its replacement, were faithfully recorded by watercolourist Robert Lowe Stopford, in paintings which today are preserved in the head offices of Irish Distillers, on the North Mall.


The School of Art annual inspection and examination was held in October, by Mr. R. G. Wylde, Government Inspector. Medals were awarded to twenty-four students: Thomas Mullins, William Perrott, William Pelly, Timothy O'Connell, Susan L. Jacob, George Brenan (a brother of James Brenan), Thomas Hovenden (for a life study after Mulready) and Christina Williamson. The three talented Thorpe sisters, Fanny, Maria and Kate, took home a total of seven medals, while two were awarded to Anne Baker. Sarah and Helen Barry each got a medal, as did Kate Craig, Sarah Gibbings, Jane White, Fanny Harrington, Elizabeth White, Jane Morgan and Thomas Harlowe. Architectural plans and drawings of the Royal Cork Institution building won medals for both Jonathan Hare and Arthur Hill. [Cork Examiner, October 20th, 1862, p. 2, col. 5]

Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895) was one student who later went on to achieve prominence as an artist in the United States. An orphan from Dunmanway, Hovenden was apprenticed for several years to Mr. Tolerton, a carver and gilder in Cork, who enrolled him as a student in the Cork School of Art. In 1863 Hovenden embarked for America, where he was to continue his studies at the National Academy of Design in New York. In 1874 he went to Paris for six years where he studied with Cabanal at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, before returning to the United States, where he taught at the Pennsylvania Academy. His best known works were The Last Moments of John Brown and  Breaking Home Ties.  [National Academy of Design, New York A Century and a Half  of American Art, (New York, 1975)]

Another award-winning student, Jane Morgan, after spending some time in Rome, was also to emigrate to New York, where she spent the rest of her life with her sister Maria in a remarkable house in Staten Island, which they designed and decorated themselves. (The decorative panelling and woodwork from this house are now in a residence in West Cork, having been brought to Ireland at the beginning of this century.)

In February 1862, Edward Shiel contributed a work to the forthcoming bazaar of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The painting was entitled The Little Housekeeper and represented a rustic interior, with a little peasant girl awaiting the return from work of her father, who was depicted " . . . peeping fondly through the chink at the careful little caterer for his wants." Shiel had just begun another painting at that point: The Temptation of Christ, which was to be exhibited later that year, at the RHA. [Cork Examiner, February 17th, 1862, p. 4, col. 4]. In June, at Tolerton's exhibition rooms on the Grand Parade, Shiel exhibited his group portrait of Mrs. Lyons and her family. The family  were depicted in the library of the family home, Rosannah, with, among the 'accessories', a bust of the late Thomas Lyons looking down upon them from on top of a bookcase:

Reclining in an easy attitude against a table she sits, while a pretty boy feeds with a cake a petted dog in her lap. Another lap-dog forms the object of the attention of a charming group subsidiary to the principal figures, where two little girls are profoundly interested in the literary exercitations of Master Pug. That sagacious animal is, with true canine gravity, poring over an illustrated book, but not committing himself by any premature criticism. [Cork Examiner, June 21st, 1862, p. 2, col. 5]

Shiel exhibited two other paintings at Clarke's, on Prince's Street, in August of that year. One was a study of a head of an Irish peasant girl, the second; a courting couple walking at sunset. [Cork Examiner, August 12th, 1862, p. 2, col. 3]
Midway through June, Alderman William Hegarty took delivery of a large canvas by Cork painter J. Day. The painting was initially reported in the Examiner as depicting a Bohemian gypsy encampment in an English forest glade, although two days later, that description had to be amended: "The scene and the figures are thoroughly Irish. It was the picturesqueness of the figures that led to our mistake. The scene of this clever picture represents a beautiful glade in Lord Shannon's demesne, and the figures are those of Irish tinkers, and not Spanish gipsies." (Lord Shannon's demesne was at Castlemartyr, about twenty miles from Cork.) [Cork Examiner, June 14th, 1862, p. 2, col. 5; Cork Examiner, June 16th, 1862, p. 2, col. 4]

Towards the end of August, Robert Lowe Stopford completed a sketch of the lighthouse and new telegraphic station at Roche's Point, for the Illustrated London News: "The American mail-boat is seen heaving in sight, thus suggesting the most remarkable function of the new telegraph. The drawing is a pretty one." [Cork Examiner, August 28th, 1862, p. 2, col. 4]

Tolerton's, in November of 1862, was the venue for the exhibition of four paintings, two genre pictures and two portraits, by Richard Lyster. One of the portraits was of  W. Madden; the second, of artist Edward Shiel, who had at that point just departed from Cork to seek his fortune in London. The Cobbler was the title of the third painting, depicting a girl awaiting the mending of her brogues by a chattering cobbler, while the subject of the fourth painting was a laughing beggar in a torn shirt ('the fore-shortening of the shoulder is admirable'). [Cork Examiner, October 4th, 1862, p. 2, col. 4]

An international competition  was held in 1862, to select the architect who was to design a replacement for the old St. Finbarre's cathedral in Cork. The winner of the competition was William Burges, who had already won similiar competitions for the design of a cathedral at Lilles, and the English Memorial Church at Constantinople. Sir Thomas Deane was placed second in the competition. As neither Lille nor Constantinople churches were actually built, Burges was free to adapt the elevation of the former onto the plan of the latter, and he produced a design for the magnificent St. Finn Barre's Cathedral, construction of which commenced in Cork that year. [M. Craig, p. 315] The new cathedral was to take sixteen years to build.

Work started in 1862 on The Prince's Street ('English') Market, to the design of Sir John Benson, who had designed the circular Butter Market at Shandon ten years previously. [M. Craig, p. 307] The elaborate cast-iron fountain with gas lights, which was placed in the centre of the Prince's Street Market, featured in an article in The Dublin Builder early the following year. [The Dublin Builder, Vol. V, No. 76, p. 34, Feb. 15th, 1863] Near the Market, in the centre of Grand Parade, the quatrefoil Berwick Fountain had been built to Benson's designs in 1860. In 1862, Benson also designed the great central tower of St. Marys and St. Anne's Cathedral, which was constructed over the next five years, while the English architect William Tarring designed a new church at the foot of Summerhill, for the Presbyterian congregation in Cork. This building, of white limestone (Kentish rag) is distinguished by its slender elegant spire, now slightly askew. [T. F. McNamara, pp. 74, 67] 


A meeting of the students of the School of Art was held at the end of February, to say farewell to one of the students of the school, a Miss Harrington, who was emigrating to Australia. The headmaster, Brennan, referring to Miss Harrington as 'so bright an ornament of the school' presented her with an inscribed silver 'porte crayon' on behalf of the staff and students. Miss Harrington replied courteously: "I am leaving Ireland for a distant land, but Cork and the old school shall always find a place in my memory." [Cork Examiner: February 26th, 1863, p. 2, col. 4]

In January 1863, a topographical watercolour by John E. Bosanquet was exhibited in Cork. The painting, described as 'panoramic', depicted Shanakiel House, the residence of F. R. Leahy, 'taken from the Dyke Field': "The time is evening and the light of the setting sun casts a warm and mellow glow over the picture." [Cork Examiner, January 8th, 1863, p. 2, col. 5] Bosanquet had two years earlier exhibited a view of Blarney Castle at the RHA. [A. Stewart, Vol. II, p. 63] 
Over in London in 1863, Daniel Maclise was busily engaged in the completion of his Death of Nelson, a large mural painting in the Royal Gallery of the newly built House of Lords. [Cork Examiner, September 9th, 1863, p. 4, col. 4]

Back in Cork, early in March, the correspondent of the Examiner again visited the studio of Edward Sheil, at 120 Patrick Street. Shiel was working on a painting based on a text from the Apocalypse; 

And another Angel came and stood before the Altar, having a golden censer: And there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints, at the golden Altar which is before the throne of God.

The visitor thought the style of the painting unusual, and felt that it recalled the manner of the 'old pre-Raffaelite painters'. The composition of the painting was based on a golden-haired angel standing before an altar. The angel was surrounded by different scenes 'under which the utterance of prayer may be supposed'. [Cork Examiner, March 10th, 1863, p. 2, col. 4] This painting was to be shown at the RHA annual exhibition the following year, 1864, as The Angel of Prayer Offering, where it would receive much favourable notice. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p.146] The central figure in the painting, which illustrated a passage from the 8th chapter of the Revelation of St. John, was surrounded by no less than eighteen separate scenes, or panels. Each panel represented prayer under different circumstances; the prayer of the suicide (a girl who had just thrown herself into the river Thames), of the condemned prisoner,  of the soldier dying in the field of battle, and so on. One panel represented " . . . a powerful representation of a fire. The attitudes and gestures of the frightened children, as they stand clustered together in their bed to escape the flames which have already seized on the furniture in the room . . . are all most admirably and truthfully rendered." [Cork Examiner, 21st June 1864, p. 4, col. 5] In another, described as 'a perfect gem', a woman throws herself in an agony of grief on the bed where her infant lies suffering.

. . .there is great vigour in the night scene in Oxford-street, where a wretched outcast,, with one sickly child clasped to her breast, and another starveling by her side, walks up the broad pathway, hunger and misery plainly impressed on her haggard countenance and gaunt figure. The light from a brilliant gin palace strikes upon her form as she passes by, and through the open door we see a gaudily-dressed girl taking a dram at the counter. A bill of the opera hung outside, announcing the performance of La Traviata, is sufficiently suggestive. [Ibid]

Strickland refers to this painting as The Angel of Intercession, and says that it was shown in the Dublin Exhibition of 1865, along with two other works by Shiel, Jacob's Dream and Spring.

Sheil had another painting on view at his studio: The Temptation of Our Lord. which had been exhibited at the RHA annual exhibition the previous year. The artist had represented the moment of humiliation of Satan.

Standing upon a rough eminence of rock is the figure of CHRIST, erect, passionless and majestic; while cowed, beaten, baffled, the form of man's enemy is seen descending, to steal away into the night of darkness  which is hinted at below. Above the head of the REDEEMER is a misty opening in the clouds through which, veiled with a thin haze of glory, are seen the forms of shining multitudes hymning praise and adoration.

It was the verdict of the Examiner's critic that these paintings could not but 'redound to the credit of our talented fellow townsman', although a later writer described the Temptation as 'a cold visionary emanation of disordered fancy.'  [Cork Examiner, May 7th, 1863, p. 3 col. 6]

By the end of April 1863, Shiel had completed another small painting, on a subject 'as old as the hills', which portrayed a tired workman sitting by his fire, while ". . .his pretty wife holds up for his caresses the chubby infant, who forms, perhaps, the chief object of their mutual career. . .The young wife, an interesting, though not exactly handsome brunette, is quite the beau ideal of a workman's wife; the man himself, a great, brawny, big-whiskered fellow, . ." This painting was shown at the RHA later that year, under the title Home from Work, and was purchased by the Lord Lieutenant. [Ibid.]

Religious paintings were in favour in Cork in 1863. The artist Richard Lyster was commissioned by the Christian Brothers to provide three paintings for their renovated school chapel. One of these paintings was a copy of Murillo's Immaculate Conception, but two were original compositions by the artist: The Agony in the Garden, and the Bearing of the Cross. [Cork Examiner, June 5th, 1863, p. 2, col. 4] According to the Cork Examiner of August 1st, Lyster, who for many years had been a semi-invalid, died on July 31st, shortly after completing this commission. (Strickland records that the artist died 'at his residence in Cove Street, Cork, on 1st August 1863') [W. Gl Strickland, Vol. II, p. 41] The contents of his studio, including easels, colours and canvasses were sold at auction on Tuesday the 18th of August. Among the paintings offered for sale were: The Holy FamilyThe CluricaunMariana, and A Spanish Boy, as well as a large number of studies in oil. [Cork Examiner, August 1st, 1865, p. 2 col. 6; Cork Examiner, August 14th, p. 2, col. 1] The first three of these paintings, as well as a Street Scene in Cork,  were puchased by a Michael O'Sullivan, for a total of £38, while Dr. O'Connor purchased another Street Scene in Cork, for £3. Mr. Denny Lane purchased The Convalescent for £2, while J. Denehy acquired a second copy of The Clauricaun. [Cork Examiner, August 19th, 1863, p. 2, col. 5] Lyster had been a popular figure in the city's art life, and amongst those viewing the contents of his studio there was much sadness. 

There ought, as you look at them, be a joyous laughing voice telling you how comic the scene was where its owner beheld that shoe mended, or, with passionate tenderness, speaking of that beautiful face and form delineated before you. .  [Cork Examiner, August 17th, 1863, p. 2, col. 3]

Lyster was buried at the Botanic Cemetery, in the family burial place of the Reverend George Brenan, a near relative and close friend. The occasion of his death prompted a number of tributes in the newspapers. Lyster's early career was recalled; how he had been placed in the commercial offices of Michael Murphy, but had spent more time drawing the porters and his fellow clerks than attending to his duties. Murphy, an enlightened employer, had recognised and encouraged his artistic talents, and before long Lyster travelled to Rome to continue his studies. Unfortunately, the artist contracted malaria shortly after arriving in Italy, and this disease, which was to attack him repeatedly during his five years in Rome, eventually forced him to return to Ireland, where he survived for only ten more years. His passing was mourned by his many friends:

You listened to the quaintest fancies, you heard the most comical views of life, of men, of affairs; you laughed over the drollest conceits, . .Who ever invested the deal frame of a trivial incident with such gorgeous carving and gilding? . . .He would spend hours of rapture over a rosebud, expatiating upon the wonder of its growth, the perfection of its colour, the harmony of its form; or, he would track a ballad-singer through the streets, or attend with edified admiration to the contests of the fish-women on the Coal Quay. [Cork Examiner, August 3rd, 1863, p. 2, cols. 4, 5]

In addition to those works by Lyster which were exhibited in 1847 and subsequent years, Strickland records other works by the artist, including  The Girl who Found the Leprachaun, (in the possession of Mr. Daly of Cleveland in Cork in 1913, while a Mr. Holland, of 14 North Mall, owned a sketch for it); Girl with a Hood, (owned by Mr. Frank Murphy in 1913) and a portrait of The Rev. F. Mahony (Fr. Prout), painted while the artist was in Rome. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 41; Strickland also quotes from an obituary in The Cork Daily Herald, of 3rd August, 1863]
In September 1863, William Linnaeus (or Linden) Casey (d. 1869), showed four watercolours and three oil sketches, at Clarkes gallery on Grand Parade. The subject matter of the watercolours was exotic; Turkish and Greek peasants, an Italian prisoner. The oils were considered to be as light in touch as the watercolours, apart from A Spanish Monk, which was praised for its chiaroscuro. [Cork Examiner, September 15th, 1863, p. 2, col. 3] Casey, a former student at the Cork School of Art, was now master of St. Martin le Grand's School of Art in London, where he numbered amongst his pupils the future King Edward VII. [John Gilbert, "Authors, Artists and Musical Composers", JCHAS, Vol. XIX, 1913, pp. 176-177]

In Dublin, at the annual RHA exhibition, Cork architect William Ringrose Atkins exhibited an interior and exterior design for A Proposed New Cathedral, Cork. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 22] Another architect, William Stirling, also showed five designs for a cathedral in Cork. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 187] The following year, again at the RHA, Stirling was to show designs for a church at Whitepoint, in Queenstown (Cobh).


Cork School of Art: This institution is now very fully attended, and all the classes and lectures are in active operation. There is a considerable increase in the numbers of pupils from National Schools at the evening classes; but it is to be regretted that, in a city which boasts of extensive dockyards, iron foundries, and other public establishments, which require and employ skilled workment, a greater number of the artisan and mechanic classes do not avail of the great advantages to be derived from the knowledge of Mechanical Drawing, Perspective, and Orthographic projection. By an alteration now being carried out in the gallery, opening the side lights, and a new arrangement of top-lights, the splendid collection of casts are seen to greater advantage, and better adapted for public examination and for study. In addition to the usual rewards calculated to stimulate exertion and develop genius, Mr. John Daly, T. C. , has intimated his intention to give money prizes of the value of £10, for the best designs for Brussell's carpets, with the object of encouraging originality of design, and also for the purpose of being manufactured if found suitable. [Cork Examiner, November 14th, 1864, p. 2, col. 4]

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In April 1864, the year the National Gallery of Ireland opened, the Examiner announced the first exhibition of the "Cork Fine Arts Society", which was to be held at Clarkes' Exhibition Rooms at 40 Grand Parade from April 25th until May 25th. The Patron of this society was the Lord Lieutenant. Its president was The O'Donovan, while committee members included N. D. Murphy, Robert Hall, James Beale, T. Jameson and H. Westropp. Sir T. Tobin was a vice-president. The object of the society was to 'encourage a taste for Genuine Pictures Painted by Local Artists', and to acquire works by local artists which would be distributed by ballot amongst members of the society. The exhibition at Clarkes does not appear to have received much notice in the local papers, in contrast with exhibitions further afield.

The annual exhibition at the Royal Academy in May of 1864 included a work in marble by Cork sculptor, Edward Ambrose. Entitled "Spring", it was described as 'a well-conceived figure . . . placed in the worst possible light.' [Cork Examiner, 31st May 1864, p. 3, col. 5]

The 1864 exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy, held in June, included works by two Cork artists. Charles Henry Cook showed two paintings, The Matchmaker and Little Peggy, described respectively as 'a rude Irish peasant' and 'a coarse girl, ungainly in form and not handsome in features'. Edward Sheil received considerably more praise for the The Angel of Prayer Offering, which had received favourable notices the previous year.

Shiel completed a second painting some weeks later, and this also was dispatched to Dublin for exhibition. Entitled Making the Ball Dress, it was described as a 'simpler and less ambitious' work than the Angel of Prayer Offering, but was no less melodramatic in its subject matter:

Two young girls are engaged upon the making of the dress, in which some other young girl is to shine amidst gay crowds and brilliant festivity. Morning has overtaken them at their toil. Through the open window the rosy dawn tips the distant houses, and the level beam of the sun streams with mild radiance into the room of the workers. The wearying drudgery--the
Work, work, work,
  Till the stars shine through the roof,
And work, work, work,
   While the cock is crowing aloof.
has overcome one of the toilers, and she reclines back against the corner of the window, sleep stealing over her heavy eye-lids, while a hectic spot on the cheek tells the sad difference between her repose and that of healthful slumber. Her companion, who yet retains "beauty's ensign crimson on her lips and cheeks", leans forward with pitying tenderness, and removes the work gently from the sleeper. This is the whole story--a small one, but suggestive of the grotesque comedy of life, in which the revelry of one is the suffering of another . . . [Cork Examiner, 12th July 1864, p. 2, col. 3]

In Cork, a memorial statue of Father Theobald Mathew, by sculptor John Henry Foley, was erected in Patrick Street. [The Dublin Builder, Vol. VI, No. 115, 1st Oct. 1864, p. 201] According to an inscription on the base of the statue, it was unveiled on October 10th, 1864. The number of portraits made of Fr. Mathew is a testament to the great popularity of the 'Apostle of Temperance'. Another portrait of him, by an otherwise unknown artist from Cork, J. Chisholm, was exhibited two years later at the RHA. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 132]

In Queenstown (Cobh), the laying of the foundation stone of a new church, designed by Henry Hill, was recorded in The Dublin Builder. [The Dublin Builder, Vol. VI, No. 115, p.199, Oct. 1st, 1864]


Throughout this period, the Cork School of Art had continuing difficulty in recruiting male students from amongst the industrial working classes, and consequently appeared to favour the admission of women from middle-class backgrounds. This imbalance was partly due to the high status attached to English art schools, but there was also the economic reality that Irish women did not have the financial independence to travel abroad for their education. Also, those manufacturing industries which most needed the services of designers tended to be located in England, and would conveniently draw their designers from local art schools. These factors led aspiring, and financially independent, male Irish artisans to move to English art schools, and from thence into English industry; with the result that a significant proportion of the English creative and design talent was in fact Irish.  Schools of Art in Ireland were thus placed at a double disadvantage, their local industries being unused, or unwilling, to employ skilled designers and a base of local talent that was continually draining away to England, or indeed to the United States, where census returns from this period show that a considerable number of engravers, lithographers and other skilled artisans were from Ireland. The situation was summed up in a letter to The Times, written in 1865:

Employers of artists do not echo the sentence, 'No Irish need apply," for they encourage them extensively, and notwithstanding the immense competition caused by the demand for their service the art-facility will command its price, and the market is not overstocked with good artistic labour. The popular rage for illustration alone opens a great field for it, and the increasing application of design to structures and textures affords it promise of a vast future. Men and women from Ireland throng the brances of work connected with the first of these particularly, and, as these branches multiply, it is probable that Irish artists will avail themselves of them even more entensively. The employment is peculiarly congenial to their tastes, and the remuneration they will be likely to yield will be more acceptable to them then to people of a more money-getting spirit. [reprinted in the Cork Examiner, 3rd January 1865, p. 3, col. 3]

While it was acknowledged that art schools in Ireland gave an excellent basic grounding in art and design, they were criticised for providing a limited educations to their students, stopping short in support at the point when students needed it most, and forcing the more talented students to seek further specialised education abroad.

A corroboration of these opinions is provided by artist Henry Albert Hartland, who, in 1865, paid one of his regular visits home to Cork, where, from his address at 5 Wellington Terrace, Grattan Hill, he sent five landscapes to the RHA annual exhibition. Twenty-five year old Hartland, who had been born in Mallow and trained at the Cork School of Art before emigrating to Liverpool, was well-known for his watercolour paintings of Irish landscapes. Apart from his regular visits to his native city, Hartland was to remain in England for the rest of his life. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 450; in the Index of RHA exhibitors, only one work by Hartland is listed as being shown in 1865, c. f.  A. Stewart, Vol. II, p. 59]

Further corroboration might be found in the the announcement that same year, of the death of artist James MacDonald (or McDaniel), aged 77, 'formerly artist in this his native city', which occured at his residence, Vive Cottage, Peterborough Road, London on 21st March and was reported in the Cork Examiner three days later. [Cork Examiner, 24th March 1865, Deaths column] James MacDonald was the father of artists Daniel (who also emigrated to London) and Jane MacDonald.

The death of the antiquarian John Windele occured on 28th August 1865, 'at his residence, 12 Blair's Hill, and was reported the same day in the Examiner.

In Cork, the Provincial Bank on South Mall was constructed, to the designs of architect W. G. Murray, the son of Francis Johnston's nephew and partner, William Murray, who had designed the bank's head office in Dublin the previous year. [M. Craig, p. 262; The Dublin Builder, Vol. VII, No. 141, p. 261, 1st Nov. 1865]

William Ringrose Atkins designed two new county Cork churches in 1865; Trinity Church at Garrane, Kenekeake, and another church at Leighmoney. [The Dublin Builder, Vol. VII, No. 138, 15th Sept. 1865, pp. 223-225; also, Vol. VII, No. 132-3, 15th June 1865]

In 1866 Henry Lavellin Puxley, High Sheriff of County Cork, owner of the Berehaven Copper Mines and son of "Copper John" Puxley,  added a vast new High Victorian extension to Dunboy Castle, in Castletownberehaven. The new building, designed by London architect John Christopher (1828-1910) and built by well-known contractors Cockburns, combined a Ruskinian Gothic style with the more up-to-date Baronial style of Norman Shaw. It contained a vast central hall, spanned by four transverse cut-stone arches. Construction began in July 1866, under the supervision of Dublin architect E. H. Carson. The building was roofed in 1867. It is now a ruin.  [M. Craig, p. 316]


A search of the Cork Examiner for this year has revealed no references to the Fine Arts.


Edward Shiel's prolific output of paintings continued unabated through 1867. Perhaps prompted by considerations of health, he had moved two years earlier to Queenstown (Cobh), a seaport in Cork harbour which had gained fame as a health resort in the early nineteenth century. The correspondent of the Examiner visited his studio at the Beach, Queenstown, in December 1867 and described three paintings in progress. The first, entitled A Whisper from the Corn, painted for the Lord Mayor, depicted two children lost in thought at the edge of a cornfield. "The corn is the chief actor in the story. It stands high and dense and blooming, and we can see its ears nodding to each other and chattering in the light breeze of which we are told by the blue sky and its smoothly sailing white clouds." [Cork Examiner, 3rd December 1867, p. 2, col. 3]. Left Behind was the suggested title of the second painting, which showed an old man and a young woman on the sea shore at twilight, with an emigrant ship in the distance. The correspondent thought that Sheil had displayed great emotional power in his depiction of 'the daily Irish tragedy'. This painting was shown the following year at the RHA, by which time Sheil had moved back into Cork city, to 10 Granville Place. The third painting, in a less finished state than the other two, depicted a workman arriving home and receiving his child from the hands of his wife. This last work, entitled Home again after Work, was also shown at the Academy the following year, along with a third painting entitled The letter of  Proposal. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 146]

Queenstown was the port of embarkation of many Irish emigrant ships bound for America. While Shiel was living there, work started on the construction of St. Colman's Cathedral, a vast gothic edifice, dependant somewhat on French models and American money, which was to eventually dominate the quaysides of that town. The cathedral, designed by Edward Welby Pugin and George C. Ashlin, was not completed until 1919, by which time Ashlin had a new partner, Thomas A. Colman. Edward Sheil did not remain unaffected by the town's hapless trade; Left Behind was only one of a number of paintings he worked on while living in Queenstown. In 1865 he had shown a painting entitled The Emigrant at the RHA, and the following year, he exhibited several works inspired by the daily scenes on the quays: Cunnard Pier, Queenstown Harbour; Landing for water, Queenstown, and A Long Last Look Towards Home. Neither did he remain unaffected by his own consumptive condition, exhibiting also that year Making Hay while the Sun Shines and The May Girl. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 146]

The church building programme extended throughout County Cork during this period, with new Catholic churches being built at Monkstown and at Skibbereen in the year 1867 alone. [The Irish Builder, Vol IX, No. 191, 1st Dec. 1867, pp. 308-309; Vol. IX, No. 178, 15th May 1867, p. 127]


A search of the Cork Examiner for this year has revealed no references to the Fine Arts.
Strickland records that Manus Massey O'Keeffe (1834-1868), an amateur artist who specialised in producing drawings 'in the manner of the ancient Irish illuminations', died in 'distressed circumstances' at the Mercy Hospital in Cork, on 3rd May, 1868.  [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, p. 193]


The results of the examinations held at the School of Art were published in the Examiner on May 21st. Conveniently prominent in the alphabetical listing (as he was the only student mentioned to achieve artistic prominence in later life) Joseph Addey achieved a pass in geometry. Thomas G. Atkins and Samuel Anglin, while achieving the same result in 'freehand', were 'excellent' in geometry. Other students who achieved results in these two subjects were: Martha J. H. Alymer, Robert T. Belcher, John G. Bradish, John Brophy, Douglas C. Buckly, Henry J. Cassidy, Thomas J. Cassidy, William C. Cummins, James Deane, Frederick W. Deverill, Nicolena Deverill, Ada R. Dunscombe, Mary Gibson, Alexander Gibson, George Griffin, William J. Hall, Bertha Harrison, Joseph J. Harty, Henry Haycroft, David Howe, Samuel F. Hynes, Henrietta Large, Jeremiah F. Mullins, Thomas F. Mullins, James Perry, Penelope Power, Mary Townsend, Mary H. O'Brien, Samuel Walsh. The examination results were also given for four students in what was called the 'Governesses' Seminary'; Jane Leech, Harriet McKenry, Charlotte Sexton and Minna E. Talbot; as they were also for eight students from Midleton College, three from the Blue Coat School, while not forgetting little Arabella Ledwich and Anna Dooling from St. Patrick's National School, who both passed in freehand. [Cork Examiner 21st May 1869, p. 2, col. 6]

However, the more important  examination results were those of the autumn exams, where works by students from all the Schools of Art in the U.K. were judged in South Kensington. The various paintings and other works of art were then returned to the various Schools, with small stickers attached, giving the judges' marks. "Satisfactory" was marked on the work of Cork students Jemina Burrows, Luke Franklin, Fielding Lloyd, James Perry, Adelaide Skuse, James Griffin and Samuel Hynes. The distinction of having their work selected for 'national competition' was achieved by Henry A. Hartland (who is represented in the Crawford Gallery permanent collection), Samuel Hill, Jeremiah Mullins, Patrick Meade, Patrick O'Keefe, Anne Baker, Kate Craig, Emma Gregg, Margaret Hill, Fanny N. Thorpe, Maria J. Thorpe and Sarah E. Wood. Free studentships (exemptions from paying fees for one year) were awarded to Stephen Hennessy, Samuel Hill, Jeremiah Mullins, Patrick Meade, Patrick O'Keeffe and Samuel Walsh. Prizes were awarded to Samuel Hill and Patrick Meade ('ornament modelled from the cast'), Joseph P. Addey ('ornament shaded from the cast'), William C. Cummins ('ornament outlined from the flat'), James Demery ('ornament shaded from the flat'), George Griffin ('figure shaded from the cast') Richard Willis ('capital shaded from the flat'), Jeremiah Mullins ('arabesque painted in oil'), Kate Craig ('flowers painted from nature'), and, lastly, Maria Thorpe ('head from nature, shaded, in chalk'). Finally, "Patrick O'Keeffe, carpenter, was awarded the bronze medallion, for ornament modelled from the cast, and design for Spandrel modelled in clay." [Cork Examiner 14th August 1869, p. 2, col. 4] Of these students, Joseph Poole Addey and Richard Henry Albert Willis went on to achieve prominence as artists. Strickland writes of Willis's career as a student:

He was brought up in Cork, and at the age of about 16 was apprenticed to Arthur Hill, an architect in that city. As a boy he showed remarkable talent for drawing and he devoted his spare time to studying in the School of Art, then under the direction of James Brenan. From the beginning his career as an art student was an uninterrupted success, and having gained a scholarship in the National Art Training School at South Kensington, he went to London to continue his studies. He . . was accounted the best student who ever went through the schools. [Strickland, Vol. II, p. 540]

With an address in London, Willis exhibited at the RHA for the first time in 1880, showing A Mountain Path, Bantry. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 295] He only showed at the Academy on two other occasions, in 1881 and in 1905, by which time his address was given as the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, of which he had been appointed headmaster the previous year.

A review of the exhibition of student work at South Kensington in the Art Journal  of August 1869 criticises that fact that the national gold medal was awarded to a design for cups and saucers, rather than to a portrait artist, and cites Maria Thorpe's portrait of the 'fine bearded face of a man wearing a shadowy hat' as an example of excellence: "One cannot but feel that to postpone a portrait to a tea-cup has a tendency to teach the pupil to look at Art as merely a commercial furtherence of the manufacturer . . ." [Art Journal August 1869; reprinted in the Cork Examiner  20th Sept. 1869, p. 2, col. 2]

Perhaps Edward Sheil's energetic outpouring of work through the decade of the 1860's had been prompted by the realisation that he was not destined to live very long. He died on 11th March 1869, in the house of his friend Denny Lane on the South Mall, aged 35. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. II, pl 350] The Examiner was prompted to new levels of  purple prose by this sad event: "The brain that invented, the hand that executed are lying cold and can invent and execute no more. The graceful fancies are all nipped by the frost of death, and can never again bloom into beauteous flowers of art." [Cork Examiner , 4th April 1870, p. 2, col. 3]

At the Royal Academy in London, in 1869, Henry Albert Hartland exhibited a watercolour landcape Rain, near Inchageela, Co. Cork. The previous year, from an address at 72 South Mall, Cork, he had sent two works, The Dark Valley, Killarney and The Gap of Dunlo, for exhibition at the Society of Artists in London. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 450] The year following, 1870, with an address at the Haymarket in London, he was to show four works at the RHA in Dublin. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 59] There are several works by Hartland in the Crawford Gallery permanent collection.

In 1869, architects Henry and Arthur Hill designed Park House, which was constructed near Killeagh, for C. T. Ponsonby. [The Irish Builder, Vol. LXI, No. 239, 1st Dec. 1869, pp. 274-275] Also in 1869, the 4th Viscount Doneraile added a new wing onto Doneraile Court, a large Georgian house some twenty-five miles north of Cork. The new wing contained a vast dining room, with a very large mahogany sideboard in a mirrored alcove confronting a full-length portrait of the 4th Viscount (who afterwards died of rabies, having been bitten by a pet fox), with his favourite hunter. [M. Bence-Jones, p. 105] Not to be outdone by the fox-hunting Viscount, that same year the nuns of the Ursuline Convent at Doneraile commissioned architect George C. Ashlin to design for them a new chapel and choir. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XI, No. 229,1st July 1869, pp. 156-157] Ashlin also obliged the nuns at Fermoy that year, designing a new wing for the Loreto Convent in that town. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XI, No. 234, 15th Sept. 1869, pp. 210-211]


Early in December, the Examiner reported on the  Mayor's prizes which had been awarded to students of the Cork School of Art, by the South Kensington inspector, Richard Redgrave RA. Amongst the winners were Mary Gibson, Fanny Thorpe, Kate Thorpe, Kate Blessly, Tarsia Angelina Alymer and Isabella Doyle. Amongst the men who won prizes were Charles Lyster, John Coombes, Luke Franklin, Hugh Barr and Samuel Walsh.

A ballot of two paintings by Edward Sheil, who had died the previous year, was held in April 1870 at Clarkes, on the Grand Parade. The first painting, Hopes and Fears  was described by the correspondent of the Examiner as lifting 'a corner of the curtain' which hid the artist's own life:

The painter sitting before his easel, gazing with a depth of passionate thought into the canvas on which his hopes and fears are centred, completely fascinates us. His pale face, corrugated with the frowning lines of anxiety, hold us like a spell. All about him tells us of work and earnest struggle and black care. There too, is something of silent faithful companionship suggested in the form of the young wife, lapsed into resistless slumber over the book with which she has been trying to beguile her husband's toil. [Cork Examiner , 4th April 1870, p. 2, col. 3] 

The second painting by Sheil included in the ballot was entitled His First Letter, and depicted a young girl "happy in a love which evidently has the maternal sanction, in the joy of perusing His first letter". [Ibid.]

The death of Daniel Maclise took place, at his house on Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, on 25th April 1870. At the Anniversary banquet of the Royal Academy, several days later, the death of Maclise was referred to by most of the speakers, including the Prince of Wales. Charles Dickens also spoke at length, to a highly appreciative audience, about his affection for the late artist, describing himself as 'one of the two most intimate friends and companions of the late Mr. Maclise', --one of several Academicians whose friendship Dickens had highly valued:

They have so dropped from my side one by one that I already begin to feel like the Spanish monk of whom Wilkie tells, who had grown to believe that the only realities around him were the pictures which he loved (cheers), and that all the moving life he saw, or ever had seen, was a shadow and a dream (cheers). [Cork Examiner  4th May 1870, p. 3, col. 3]

In May 1870, the correspondent of the Examiner visited the studio of portrait painter James Butler Brenan (the son of artist John Brenan), and was impressed by the great number of works on exhibition there. Apart from portraits of Richard Dowden, Major Wallis, Dr. Porter, Mr. F. B. Beamish, Sir Thomas Deane, Mr. R. Varian, Mr. J. Murphy and Mr. Thomas B. Evans, Brenan's house was also adorned with a number of studies of 'what we call nature'. In addition, the correspondent remarked on the copies after Titian, Rubens, Vandyke and Rembrandt which Brenan had produced. "Mr. Brenan's avocation has chiefly been in limning faces, and he has done his work well." [Cork Examiner 21st May 1870, p. 2, col. 5] James Butler Brenan's A Committee of Inspection, listed by Strickland as one of the artist's more notable works, is in the Crawford Gallery permanent collection, as are several of his portraits.

Early in 1870, a painting exhibited at Clarkes had attracted notice: "A very clever copy of Guido's Aurora, which is on exhibition at Mr. Clarkes, Grand Parade, is to be balloted for at a low figure. The work was done from the original at Rome, by Mr. Harrington, a native of this city, who is now resident in California. The tone of colour is admirable, and the painting is one which even good judges might be anxious to secure." [Cork Examiner 7th March 1870, p. 2, col. 3]

In November of that year, the sculptor Richard Barter (c.1824-1896) sent in from his studio at St. Anne's near Blarney, a medallion portrait in marble, to be exhibited at Clarkes on Grand Parade. The medallion portrait was of engineer Joseph Colthurst: "The artist has succeeded in imparting to the features that life-like expression which makes us talk of the breathing marble. . .The severity of a portrait like this, utterly destitute as it is of any meretricious ornament, affords an admirable test of a sculptor's powers, . ." Richard Barter was also, coincidentally, at that time working on a portrait of Richard Beamish, 'the two gentlemen being almost the only surviving pupils of Isambard Brunel'. [Cork Examiner 29th November 1870, p. 2, col. 3]

At the RHA exhibition in 1870, the Dublin sculptor Joseph Watkins exhibited no less than twenty medallions and portrait busts. Four of these were bronze medallions destined for a funerary monument to the late Alexander McCarthy, M. P., being erected in Cork. In addition to a portrait of McCarthy himself, Watkins had depicted Olioll Olum, King of Munster in the 3rd century, Milesius, and Heber Fionn, eldest son of Milesius, King of Spain. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 255]


The Department of Science and Art held its annual School of Art examinations in May, and the results were announced in the Examiner in August. The works of three students, Mary Gibson, Joseph P. Addey and Jeremiah Mullins, had been selected for National Competition. Prizes were awarded to Joseph Addey, Richard H. Willis, Charlotte Danckert, Maria L. Dixon and Kate F. Smith. Other successful students in 1871 were, in alphabetical order, Thomas W. Barry, Emma C. Billows, Helen Booth, Gertrude Bradish, Michael Cronin, Richard Evans, William Evans, Mary S. Fitzmaurice, James Gaul, Allen J. Gillman, Bertha Harrison, Amelia Harrison, Henry Haycroft, Henry Jones, Robert H. Julian, Constance E. Massey, Albina Mahony, Edward McCarthy, Matthew Mullins, Samuel J. Murphy, James Perry, Jane Spence, John Thornhill, George Thomas, Anna M. Tuohy, Charles L. White and John M. White. [Of the above, Maria L. Dixon is of interest in that she would have been a student when Joseph Poole Addey was a student teacher at the Cork School of Art, and is probably the Maria Louisa Addey who is recorded in Stewart's RHA Index at Joseph Poole Addey's addess in Derry; presumably his wife. She exhibited, at the RHA, flower pieces and still lives.]

One of the above students, Samuel J. Murphy, went on in 1875 to become Head of Waterford School of Art. A painting by him of a thoroughbred horse in a stable, signed and dated 1871, is in a private collection in England. [Arthur R. Larkin, Pearcelands, Ardingly Road, West Hoathly, Sussex. Mar. '92] Similiar in style to 19th century equestrian works by Partridge, Herring   and Hall, the painting shows Murphy to have been a competent and conventional artist.   

From Midleton College, Thomas C. Moore, Standish O'Grady, William Perrott and Edward C. Rae all 'passed in freehand', while from the Governesses' Seminary, Miriam J. Burke and Louisa Glassford also passed in the same subject. [Cork Examiner 24th August 1871, p. 2, col. 7]

On the 31st March 1871, the Examiner reported on the results of a competition, organised by a Mr. William Barton of Boston, Lincolnshire, for the best designs for encaustic tiles for ornamenting the sides of stoves. The competition was open to students from thirty-six schools of art throughout Britain. One of the two prizes, a postal order for £5,  went to Anne Baker, a student at the Cork School of Art, for her tile design, which incorporated an ivy pattern. [Anne Baker exhibited twice at the RHA, in 1869 and 1877, c.g. A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 30] In addition, Barton had purchased the designs sent in by Mrs. Henry Hill, which he also intended to have manufactured as tiles. [Cork Examiner, 31st March 1871, p. 2, cols. 3 & 4]

At a meeting of the Royal Hibernian Academy, held on Tuesday, April 6th, the Cork portrait artist James Butler Brenan was elected a member of the Academy. [Cork Examiner 15th April 1871, p. 2, col. 7] The annual exhibition of the RHA was held also in April, where two works by the late Edward Sheil,The Little Song and Kate of Araglen attracted notices in several journals, including the Evening Post and the Freeman's Journal, which said of the first painting; "It partakes to some extent of the feebleness of the dying artist, but it is strong in a kind of refinement and spirituality most fascinatingly conveyed in the representation of the two sisters at the piano singing 'the little song', which gives the picture its name." [An undated report from the Freeman's Journal, reprinted in the Cork Examiner 28th April 1871, p. 2, col. 6] Kate of Araglen was described in the Evening Post as 'a little melancholy'. The Post quoted the lines by Gerald Griffin, on which the painting was based:

When first I saw thee, Kate,
That Summer's evening: late,
Down at the orchard gate,
                  Of Araglen.
I felt I ne'er before,
Saw one so fair asthore,
I feared I'd ne'er more,
                  See thee again.

The Dailly Express gave a more prosaic description of the painting. "It represents a fair country maiden, with a kerchief thrown lightly round her shoulder, and standing knitting by the open wicket of a garden later on a summer's evening." [Ibid.] Both paintings were reckoned by the Examiner to 'point the moral of ''flowers on the ebbing tide" '.

The new Church of the Immaculate Conception, at Enniskean, was built in 1871, to the designs of R. Evans, architect. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XIII, No. 274, 15th May 1871, pp. 126-127]


The annual exhibition of students' work, and the distribution of prizes, took place in the 'Rotondo' of the Athenaeum, next door to the School of Art, on the 20th December 1872. The headmaster, James Brenan, reported that attendances that year had been hit by an epidemic which had swept the city. Only 36 out of 80 students presented themselves for the second grade examination; 20 of these had been successful. A free studentship had been awarded to Benjamin T. Leader. Student numbers at the school were in total 126, of whom 69 attended the morning and 57 the evening classes. Joseph P. Addey, formerly student teacher at the Cork school, had now been admitted to the training school for art masters at South Kensington. Addey, along with Miss Anne Baker, had also won the Mayor's prize awarded for the design of a Brussels carpet. In addition, Addey and James J. Coakley had gained two places, out of nine, in a competition for the task of copying the cartoons of Raphael. Coakley nine years later exhibited two views, of Blarney Castle and Kilcrea Abbey, at the RHA; the only time he was to exhibit with the Academy. He also showed several works at the 1883 Cork Industrial Exhibition. Addey, on the other hand, went on to exhibit regularly at the RHA, showing over 130 watercolours, including several Cork landscapes, between 1877 and 1914. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, pp. 3-5, 141]

The following students were also awarded prizes: Helen Booth, Emma Billows, Mrs. Chillingworth, ('late Miss Craig'), Maria L. Dixon, Kate Graves, Bertha Harrison, Lizzie Holland,  Anna M. Touhy, Elizabeth Woodroffe, Nina Woodroffe and Annie Stevens. Amongst the male students who won prizes were Richard M. Adderley, Charles Dee, James Griffin, James Gaul, Jeremiah Mullins, James McGlennon, Edward O'Bre, Dominic O'Leary, Richard Perrott, John Quigley, William Starkey, Richard H. A. Willis, Henry H. Warren, Frederick B. Wheeler, Cornelius Dunlea, Thomas Fitzpatrick, William Fitzpatrick, Barter E. Hopkins, Denis O'Mehigan, Thomas O'Shea, James Perry, Maurice Reen and Thomas Stevens.

The Mayor then spoke for a time, complimenting the students, particularly Joseph Addey, on their achievements. "The students had a great many more disadvantages to labour under than those attending schools in other cities, which possessed picture galleries in which the pupils could instruct themselves . ." The condition of the School building was also a cause for concern, and the Mayor commented on the "absence of well-lighted, or comfortable, apartments, in which one would go with feelings of personal comfort, and apply himself to study."
The headmaster, James Brenan, was then presented, to his surprise, with an illuminated address, and 'a costly set of knives and forks'. [Cork Examiner  21st December 1872, p. 4, col. 4]

Strickland records the death in 1872 of artist William Heazle, at his father's house, at 9 Queen Street, Cork. [W. G. Strickland, Vol. I, p. 468]

The Cork artist John Claude Bosanquet, son of John E. Bosanquet, exhibited at the RHA annual exhibition for the first time, showing seven landscapes. The following year he showed another four views, three of Killarney, one of Blarney; the last time he was to show at the Academy. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 63]
About this time, a Mary Henry Ensor, living at 1 Lynch's Quay, Queenstown, painted canvases of still-lifes. She subsequently moved to Birkenhead. [One of her works was purchased in Aberdeen in 1992 by collector Geoffrey Kersall, bearing a Suffolk Street Gallery label with the address of the artist and the date 1871-74.]

A new church at Killowen, designed by architect R. Hynes, was built in 1872. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XIV, No. 305, 1st Sept. 1872, p. 241] Also in this year, W. H. Hill designed Kilmalooda House, Kilmalooda, for S. Beamish. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XIV, No. 293, 1st March 1872, pp. 69, 75]


The results of the examinations held by the Department of Science and Art were reported in the Cork Examiner on August 16th, 1873. In addition to those students already listed in the reports for 1871 and 1872, the following new names appear as students at the Cork School of Art: Agnes Cummins, Edith Cummins, Bartholemew Daly, Edward Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald, Isabella Fitzmaurice, Richard T. Holland, James Keene, Julia M. Kirchoffer, Handel Marks, Florence Norton, Charles Ryan, Maria T. Ryan and Lizzie Young. Certificates were awarded to Mary L. Dixon, Mary Gibson, Julia M. Kirchoffer and James Perry. Another new name on the student list was Mr. D. C. Crawford, of Queenstown.
Prizes were awarded to Benjamin T. Leader, Maria J. Thorpe, Eliza Walker, Richard H. Willis, Kate Graves, Bessie Graves, Charles Dee, James Gaul, Sally Hackett, Jenny Hackett, Richard T. Holland, Richard Perrott, Isabella Fitzmaurice and Harriet Fitzmaurice. Free studentships were awarded to Benjamin T. Leader, Jeremiah Mullins and Richard H. A. Willis. [Cork Examiner 16th August 1873, p. 2, col. 5]

The September 15th edition of The Irish Builder featured designs for the new St. Luke's Church in Cork, designed by Sir John Benson in conjunction with W. H. Hill, while in Crosshaven, the architect of St. Fin Barre's cathedral, William Burges, designed the new Templebrady Church. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XV, No. 330, pp. 246-249, 15th Sept. 1873; Vol. XV, No. 320, 15th April 1873, pp. 106-107]


An exhibition of works by students of the School of Art was held in December, in the gallery of the School. The works included mechanichal drawings, architectural designs, studies from nature and from classical casts, portraits in oils and others. The correspondent of the Examiner reckoned that, exhibited anywhere else, the collection would have excited 'interest and admiration', but ". . when one has scrambled up several flights of stairs to a dim and dusty attic, the very dinginess of its surroundings makes him dwell with the greater pleasure upon the freshness, beauty and vitality of mind with which the works impresss him. Here, in company with a unique series of casts, which many a city would gladly build a palace for, is found such evidence of the prevalence of a vigorous artistic faculty . . ." Amongst the works in the exhibition, the correspondent noted a painting of a newsboy, 'in all the ragged archness of his class', by Lady Helena Newenham, along with a series of illustrations of Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man and Goldsmith's Deserted Village, by Richard H. A. Willis. [Cork Examiner 31st Dec. 1874, p. 4, col. 4]

A collection of paintings belonging to a Mr. Marmaduke Cramer of Kinsale, including some 'Dutch interiors' and 'continental landscapes', was exhibited at Clarke's Gallery on Grand Parade, in December 1874. The collection also included ". . a very pretty and skilful series of miniature views on the Upper Lee, painted in oils by Captain and Adjuntant Foster R. C. C. C." [Cork Examiner 3rd Dec. 1874, p. 2, col. 6]

At Blarney, Co. Cork, a magnificent Scottish Baronial-style house was constructed near the castle, for the Jefferyes family. [M. Bence-Jones, p. 43]


In August 1875, the Examiner reported on the examinations at the School of Art. Students whose names had not appeared in previous years' reports included Sarah Atkinson (daughter of G. M. W. Atkinson), David J. Barrett, Charles Bennett, Jervis D. Biggs, Achilles and Maggie Bradish (presumably siblings of John and Gertrude Bradish, whose names appear in previous reports), Eugene Crean, Edith Graves (presumably a sister of Kate and Bessie Graves, whose names appear in previous reports), Jane Holland (presumably a sister of Lizzie and Richard Holland, whose names appear in previous reports), Lucy Kertland, James Leahy, Mary Lyons, Jessie Matthews, Patrick J. Murphy, Jeremiah O'Connell, Ellie Ransome, Susanna Schultz, Charles Taylor, Denis Twomey, Thomas Waters, John Watson, Sidney Bernard, Mary Forde, Louis Roche.
Henry Jones (afterwards known as Henry Jones Thaddeus) was awarded a Free Studentship, while prizes were awarded to students Helen Booth, Lizzie Perry, Ellen Exham, Nina Woodroffe, Mary Coghlan, Mary Fitzmaurice, Richard Holland, Albina Mahony, Lavinia Fanny O'Brien, Jane Seymour, Lucy Kertland and Denis Walsh. Prizes were also awarded to the following students, whose works were selected for the National Competition: Maria L. Dixon, Henry Jones, B. T. Leader, Lizzie Walker, R. H. A. Willis, Anne Baker, Bessie Crawford, Kate Graves, Margaret Hill, Flora Lane, Lady H. Newenham, Hon. Mrs. Pennefather, Lizzie Woodroffe, and Richard Perrott.

Results were also given for students of Science Division (Richard Holland), Building Construction (Maurice O'Meara, James Gaul, Eugune Crean, John Meade, David Owens, Thomas Callanan and James Leahy) and Machine Contruction (Charles Ellwood).

In the late competition for prizes of the Worshipful Company of Coach Makers and Coach Harness Makers  of London, open to the coach makers of the United Kingdom and carried out by the examiner of the Society of Arts, the first prize for the technology of carraige building, consisting of the society's silver medal and £3, was awarded to Mr. Matthew Mullins, of 42 Maylor-street, Cork (coach body maker). Mr. Mullins and his brothers, Thomas and Jeremiah, have been diligent students of the Cork School of Art, and their names have been frequently mentioned in connection with these competitions as having carried off some of the highest prizes offered by the Worshipful Company to the artizans in this speciality of the United Kingdom. [Cork Examiner 24th August 1875, p. 2, col. 6]

At the annual ceremony for the distribution of these prizes, which took place in December 1875, the headmaster, James Brenan, commented that the total number of students now attending the Cork School of Art was 222, and increase of 34 on the preceding year. Two former students of the Cork School were doing very well: Joseph P. Addey had been appointed head master of the Londonderry School of Art in March, while Samuel J. Murphy had been placed in charge of the Waterford School of Art. Therefore, out of seven schools of art in Ireland, the masterships of two were filled by former students of the Cork School. The amicable tone of the evening's proceedings was only slightly deflected by a dispute which arose between Alderman Penrose and the Lord Mayor concerning Cork's progress as a city over the previous thirty years. The Mayor asserted that while in 'the purchase of foreign stocks' the city might be progressing, "in intellectual advancement it was not maintaining the position it held in old times. . .Cork was not progressing in the way he would wish or up to his idea of what the talents of its people were capable of realising. He had seen American villages that would put Cork to shame (hear, hear, and "oh")" [Cork Examiner 23rd December 1875, p. 2, cols 7 & 8]

At the RHA, a Mme. Du Gue, of 48 King Street, Cork, exhibited a painting entitled A Kerry Girl. [A. Stewart, Vol. I, p. 234] Another Cork painter showing at the Academy that year was the Hon. Mrs. Helen G. Pennefeather, of Little Island House. Her painting was entitled Constant in Death. [A. Stewart, Vol. III, p. 72] Constant in life, the unfortunate lunatics of Cork were housed in an impressive, if rather grim, asylum overlooking the river Lee, designed originally in 1852 as three separate buildings by architect William Ringrose Atkins, but subsequently united around this time to form one long Gothic edifice.[The Irish Builder, Vol. XVII, No. 372, p. 159, 15th June 1875; N. B. McNamara gives the date of completion of this building as 1852 (q.v.)]

At Velvetstown, near Buttevant, Christopher Crofts built a large High Victorian house of polychrome brick. The architect is not known. The house was destroyed by fire in 1895, and left as a ruin. [M. Bence-Jones, p. 281] In Cork, the Athenaeum Theatre was remodelled in 1875. [C. Fitz-Simon, p. 158]

Kate Dobbin was not untypical as a student: As had been the case with the Crawford School of Art since its foundation, the pupil intake tended towards the more affluent and educated families, and realisation of this social imbalance led to initiatives such as the 1891 scheme for  admitting apprentice plasterers, stone-cutters, carpenters and masons at half-fees. This initiative did not come from the Art Committee, but rather from an amalgamation of unions known as the United Trades, which offered to pay the balance of the apprentices' fees. The art master Mr. Maguire, 'himself a member of one of the trades', was to teach the class. The Art Committee also agreed to give two free studentships to each National School in the city in addition to the studentships they already offered at the Christian Brothers' schools. [Cork Examiner,  6th October1891, p. 2, cols 4, 5]

Orientalism was in favour in Cork in 1891, with architect Henry Hill designing a new Turkish Baths for the city. [The Irish Builder, Vol. XXXIII, No. 765, p. 248, 1st Nov. 1891] Also, around this time, Capt. Adam Warren-Perry remodelled his house, Perryville, in Kinsale, in an extravagant Art Nouveau and Oriental style. [M. Bence-Jones, p. 231]

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