COLLINS, SAMUEL

(d. 1768)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

He was born at Bristol, the son of a clergyman, and was brought up as an attorney. Under what circumstances, or where, he learned his art, is not known; but about the middle of the eighteenth century he was in good practice at Bath as a miniature painter, both in water-colour and enamel. Nollekens describes him as "a very indifferent miniature painter, and, what was worse, a man of gay and expensive habits." He appears to have got into financial difficulties, which made it advisable for him to leave Bath about 1762. He went to Ireland, leaving Ozias Humphrey, who had been his pupil, to succeed to his practice. In Dublin he soon found plenty of employment, and enjoyed a high reputation as a miniature painter.

A writer in the "Hibernian Magazine" in 1771 refers to him as "the celebrated Mr. Collins," and says that "few, if any, excelled him in miniature painting; his drawing, colouring and touch were as perfect as in an oil portrait." Collins, who had a house in Summer Hill, died of fever in October, 1768, "not only regretted by every artist and admirer of the arts, but by a numerous acquaintance." His will, in which he describes himself as "of the City of Dublin, miniature painter," was proved on the 12th May, 1769. The date of Collins' death has not hitherto been recorded in the biographical dictionaries of works on miniature painters; and many miniatures executed long after he was dead have been ascribed to him on the strength of the signature "S. C." upon them. In the Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition in 1899, miniatures bearing dates 1770, 1774, 1778, and 1786, were catalogued as signed examples of his work, and miniatures with dates 1773 and 1786, in the Guelph Exhibition, 1891, were also ascribed to him.

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