COYLE, JAMES

(fl. c. 1786-1811)

Scene-Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was painting scenery for the Crow Street Theatre about 1786-88, having previously been employed at Drury Lane. He was at Crow Street under Jones's management from 1798, but owing to pecuniary embarrassments was obliged to leave the country. He was brought back by Henry Erskine Johnston to paint scenery for the theatre in Peter Street and for Cork. Johnston, who it is alleged failed to pay those in his employment, left him in 1811 "in a most forlorn situation in Cork with a large and helpless family" ("Freeman's Journal," 8th October, 1811). He found employment for a short time in the Fermoy Theatre, and was afterwards, in the same year, taken back at Crow Street. Coyle appears to have been occasionally employed in decorating private mansions, and about 1806 decorated the house of Dr. Houlton in Great Britain Street. When employed at Crow Street about 1786 he befriended Thomas Dermody the poet, then a boy, whom he employed in running messages and in looking after his paints and size-pots in the theatre.

Two English or Irish scene-painters of the name practised for some years in America—Robert Coyle, killed in New York in 1827, and — Coyle who was painting in Philadelphia in 1829 and in New York in 1835.

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