CROSSLEY, AARON

Herald Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Index of Irish Herald Painters

Was Warden of the Guild of St. Luke in 1685 and again in 1688, and was Master in 1689-90. He lived at "The Royal Coat in Dame Street over against George's Lane." He was author of "The Peerage of Ireland," published in 1725, the first attempt at such a work in Ireland. It was dedicated to Lord Carteret, the Lord Lieutenant, and appended to it is a treatise on the "Significance of Things that are borne in Heraldry." In an amusing preliminary address "To the Reader," the author begins: "Whosoever you are (if gentle or good-tempered) take your pen and mark what you find amiss in this my first essay; but if Robustick, ill-natured or envious I value you not; for when a malicious person has shot out all his darts he then will begin to look foolish, but I rather fear they will burst." Crossley was engaged in perpetual disputes with William Hawkins, the Ulster King-of-Arms, who threw obstacles in his way in the compiling of the Peerage, and in 1703 insisted on alterations in the coat of arms painted by Crossley on the coach of William Palliser, Archbishop of Cashel. Crossley said in a letter to Robert Dale, of the London College of Arms, that he did not value Hawkins "any more than the ground he trod on" (Gilbert, "History of Dublin," II, 279). At the end of the "Peerage" is an advertisement which shows the kind of work undertaken by Herald-Painters at this period:

At the Royal Coat is kept the Herald-Painter's Office, Dublin, opposite George's Lane, where Nobility and Gentry may have all things relating to the decent solemnity of Funerals, viz.: Escocheons, Hatchments, and all other sorts of Arms and Pedigrees fairly engrossed and correctly painted. Hangings for houses, velvet palls, funeral cloaks, Herses for city or country with or without Plumes of natural Ostritche's Feathers either white or black, befitting any quality, with boxes of Creons either for young ladies or gentlemen; also Coffins ready made with fine velvet and silver furniture, or otherwise, broadcloth, chased furniture, viz.: inscription plates, coats of arms with or without supporters, crests, mitres, cyphers, squares, letters and figures for men, women and children, as they are in London, at reasonable rates, all performed by Aaron Crossley. Nemo sine crimine vivit.

Crossley died in 1725 and was buried in St. Andrew's church. His will, dated 28th February, 1723, was proved on 8th October, 1725. He had considerable property about Dame Street, Grafton Street, etc.

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