LONG, JOHN ST. JOHN

(b. 1798, d. 1834)

Painter and Engraver

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born at Newcastle, Co. Limerick, in 1798, the second son of John Long, a basket maker, whose real name is said to have been O'Driscoll, and his wife Anne St. John. Displaying a talent for drawing he was sent to the Dublin Society's School, and after two years' study returned to the country, where he maintained himself by giving drawing lessons and painting landscapes and portraits. In 1822 he went to London, where, through the interest of an Irish nobleman, he received some instruction in drawing from John Martin. He was also for a time an assistant, as an engraver, to William John Ottley. He did not, however, continue as an engraver, but took to painting, and in 1825 exhibited with the Society of British Artists in Suffolk Street, "Elijah comforted by an Angel," "The Temptation," and "Abraham entertaining an Angel." In the same year he had a large picture, 6 feet by 9 feet 3 inches, in the British Institution, entitled, "An allegorical Scene in Ireland, in which the degradation consequent upon Ignorance, Idleness, and Vice are contrasted with the advantages resulting from Education, Industry and Virtue." In the following year he exhibited "His Majesty's Entrance into Cowes Castle." These pictures received some praise in the newspapers, and the Society of Arts awarded him a silver medal in 1825 for a landscape.

In 1827 he abandoned art and started as a chiropodist, and then as a specialist in consumption, rheumatism, etc., which he professed to cure by corrosive liniments and friction. He began this new avocation in Howland Street, but after a few months his practice so increased that he moved to 41 Harley Street where for a few years his quackery imposed upon the fashionable world. But one of his patients having died under his treatment he was arrested on a coroner's warrant, and was brought to trial on 23rd October, 1830, at the Old Bailey. He was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced to a heavy fine. A second trial in February, 1831, in connection with the death of another patient, ended in an acquittal. He continued to reside in Harley Street, where the money he had made enabled him to live in affluent leisure. He died from the rupture of a blood vessel on 2nd July, 1834, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, where a temple of Greek design decorated with Æsculapian emblems was erected over his remains, for which purpose he left £1,000 in his will. His executors sold the secret of his "remedial discovery" for a large sum.

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