CRAMILLION, BARTHOLOMEW

(fl. 1755-1772)

Sculptor

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

A French "statuary" who was employed by Dr. Mosse in the stucco decoration of the chapel in the Rotunda Hospital. The statement in histories and guide-books of Dublin* that this work as well as the plaster decoration in Tyrone House were done by the Franchini brothers from Cramillion's designs is not supported by evidence. On the 1st August, 1755, Cramillion entered into an agreement with Dr. Mosse to do the stucco-work in the Chapel for three hundred guineas, and on the 29th December, 1757, he further agreed to do the altar-piece for two hundred guineas. The work, finished in 1758, is an elaborate piece of plaster work with life-size figures in high relief and in the round. Over the communion table is a figure of Charity, with children, and on the north and south walls figures of Faith and Hope respectively, with many other accessory figures of angels. The centre of the ceiling and the smaller compartments at the sides enclosed in decorated borders were intended to be painted, and Cipriani had made designs which, however, were not carried out. Dr. Mosse died in 1759, and Cramillion not having received payment for his work applied in 1760 to the Governors of the Hospital for a settlement of his bill, saying that he was a stranger in Ireland and desired to get back to his own country. In his petition he styles himself "Statuary."

As Tyrone House was built in 1740 Cramillion, if he had been connected with the work there, would scarcely have described himself twenty years after as a stranger in the country; and the style of the decoration does not resemble that of the Rotunda Chapel, which is different from anything else in Dublin, its sculptural plaster-work suggesting the "statuary" rather than the decorative stucco-worker. The Franchini did work at Carton in 1739 and had left Dublin before the decorations in the Rotunda Chapel were begun. They are not mentioned in the Hospital records; the only stucco-worker employed other than Cramillion was Robert West, who probably did the ceiling over the staircase, and may have been a pupil of Cramillion. Some remarkable work by West is in the house, No. 20 Dominick Street, contemporary with the Rotunda, which is illustrated in Volume I of the Georgian Society. West died in 1790.

Although Cramillion had expressed his desire to leave Ireland in 1760 he did not do so, for in 1772 his name appears as an exhibitor with the Society of Artists in William Street: "Mr. Cramillion, at Mr. Carter's, Leeson Street. Sketch of a model for the statue of Dr. Lucas in a character called Love to his Country." No further record has been found concerning him or his works.

* See, amongst others, Wright's "Dublin Ancient and Modern," 1821, p. 280.

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