BYRNE, CHARLES

(b. 1757, d. 1810?)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Charles Byrne. Miniature by Himself; in National Gallery of Ireland.

Was born in Dublin in 1757, and was a pupil of the miniature painter, Sampson T. Roch (q.v.), for whom, being deaf and dumb, Byrne acted as assistant and interpreter. He subsequently practised for himself at 19 Suffolk Street, and was also, about 1791, employed by Hutchinson, a jeweller in Dame Street, in painting miniatures for his customers. For a short time he practised in London. He appears only once as an exhibitor, sending in 1802 two miniatures to the exhibition in the Parliament House. He was then living in Exchequer Street. For many years before his death he had retired from his profession. "With a superior understanding and much benevolence of heart," says Ryan ("Worthies of Ireland," 1821), "he mingled a dash of eccentricity which not unfrequently drew on him the animadversion of his friends, who mistook that for caprice what was unhappily a constitutional infirmity and what settled a short time before his death into confirmed insanity." He appears to have died in 1810.

A portrait by him of Samuel Neilson, engraved by T. W. Huffam, is in Madden's "United Irishmen." His own portrait in miniature painted by himself, is in the National Gallery of Ireland.

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