Patrick MacDowell

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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MacDowell, Patrick, R.A., was born in Belfast, 12th August 1799. His father dying early, the family moved to London, and although Patrick showed a decided taste for art, and desired to follow it, he was apprenticed to a coachmaker. When he had served about four years, his master became bankrupt, and the lad, sixteen years of age, was thrown on his own resources. Accident brought him to lodge in the house of a French sculptor, M. Chenu. He indulged once more in his old tastes, copied from his landlord's models, and soon delighted him with a "Venus" for which he obtained eight guineas. He was now fairly started in the career of an art student; his progress was rapid; he soon received several commissions; and through the kindness of Mr. Beaumont, M.P., he was enabled to spend eight months in Rome. The work that first brought him prominently before the public, was his beautiful statue of "The Girl Reading." After its exhibition he was elected an associate (1841), and in 1846 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy. He soon attained the highest eminence in his art. Among his works may be mentioned the group of " Virginius and his daughter," a statue of Lord Exmouth in Greenwich Hospital, his "Eve," and "Psyche," according to some critics, his masterpiece. The statues of the Earl of Belfast in Belfast, and of Viscount FitzGibbon in Limerick, are from his studio. His last great work was the group typical of Europe in the Albert Memorial, Hyde Park. Mr. MacDowell died in London, 9th December 1870, aged 71. A sketch of his life will be found in the University Magazine. Most of his works are widely known through engravings in the pages of the Art Journal.

Sources

14. Art Journal, The

116. Dublin University Magazine (38). Dublin, 1833-'77.

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