KIRCHHOFFER, HENRY, R.H.A.

(b. 1781, d. 1860)

Painter in Water-colours

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was descended from a Swiss surgeon who served in Ireland under William III. John Kirchhoffer, a cabinet-maker in Earl Street, Dublin, died in 1800 leaving, by his wife Elizabeth Hall, two sons, Hall Kirchhoffer and Francis Kirchhoffer, both cabinetmakers in Henry Street. Francis Kirchhoffer was the father by his wife, Sarah Brooke, of Henry, the subject of this notice, who was his second son.* Henry was born in, or about, 1781; he entered the Dublin Society's Schools in 1797, and in 1801 he exhibited two portrait drawings in the Parliament House. For some years afterwards he resided in Cork, where he practised as a miniature painter, and from there, in 1802, he sent five miniatures to the exhibition held that year in the Parliament House. Twenty-four works by him were in the First Munster Exhibition held in Cork in 1815. He returned to Dublin in 1816 and settled at 4 Russell Place, and sent a number of drawings, twenty-eight in all, chiefly landscapes, to the exhibitions held in the Dublin Society's House in Hawkins Street in 1817 and 1819. He also exhibited in 1821, and contributed a "Portrait of Charles Robertson," the miniature painter, to the water-colour exhibition held in 1823. This portrait is now in the National Gallery of Ireland. Kirchhoffer was one of the original Associates of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and was elected a Member in 1826. For a short time he was Secretary, and on his resignation in 1830 he was presented by the members with a silver snuff-box. He was an exhibitor from 1826 to 1834, chiefly of landscapes and portraits in water-colour, and also of miniatures and figure subjects.

A drawing by him of "Captain I. M. Skinner, R.N.," drowned off Holyhead in 1832, was lithographed and published by Hullmandel. In 1835 he resigned his membership of the Academy, and settled in London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere in London from 1837 to 1843 chiefly portraits. After 1843 little is known of him as an artist. He lived in Brighton for some years, and returning to London he died at 71 St. John's Wood Terrace, on 20th March, 186o, aged 79.

A small oil picture, "A View of Mrs. Johnston's Garden in Eccles Street, from her dining-room," exhibited in 1832, belongs to Colonel Johnston, at Kilmore, Co. Armagh. This picture shows the sham Gothic church, etc., erected by Francis Johnston, the architect, at the end of his garden in Eccles Street, where he had his miniature peal of bells. Two plates in "Ireland Illustrated," 1833, "Poulaphouca Waterfall" and "Powerscourt Waterfall," are from drawings by Kirchhoffer.

NOTE: * The eldest son, Robert, was Rector of Ballyvourney, Co. Cork, and was succeeded by his son, Richard. This Richard was father of John Nesbitt Kirchhoffer, K.C., now a member of the Canadian Senate, and of General R. B. Kirchhoffer. Hall Kirchhoffer had a son, Francis, also a cabinet-maker, who went to India and died of cholera in 1842.

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