TRACEY, JOHN JOSEPH

(b. 1813, d. 1873)

Painter of Classical Subjects and Irish Scenes

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Dublin in 1813. His mother was housekeeper to George Meade (q.v.), of 6 Malpas Street. Displaying a bent for art Meade put him into the Dublin Society's School in 1829, and there he made good progress, carrying off prizes in 1830 and 1831. In the latter year he sent two classical subjects to the Royal Hibernian Academy, and began to practise as a painter, residing for some years in Malpas Street. He at first confined himself to classical subjects, influenced by the work of his patron, Meade, and his "Coriolanus" was bought by the Royal Irish Art Union in 1841 for fifty pounds; but about 1842 he began to paint scenes of Irish country life, such as "The Irish Peasant's Grave," 1843; "The Low-backed Car," 1853; "Larry O'Toole praying for a son and heir," 1860, a subject taken from one of Carleton's stories. His "Irish Peasant's Grave" was purchased by the Royal Irish Art Union for seventy pounds, and was won as a prize by W. P. Hyndman of Aston's Quay. It afterwards belonged to J. Hamilton Read of Killarney Hill, Wicklow, and was lithographed and published by E. J. Harty of 9 Dame Street. Tracey was a frequent exhibitor in the Royal Hibernian Academy. In 1860 he went to reside in Heytesbury Street, and he gradually abandoned painting and confined himself to picture-cleaning and restoring. His patron, G. Meade, who died in 1835, bequeathed three hundred pounds to him as well as one hundred to his sister. He died at his residence in Heytesbury Street, Dublin, in November, 1873, in his 60th year.

His two sons, John (died 11th December, 1911) and Edward (still living), successfully continued their father's business as picture-cleaners at 13 Heytesbury Street.

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