Bartholomew Colles Watkins, Landscape Painter

(b. 1833, d. 1891)

Landscape Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Bartholomew C. Watkins, R.H.A. Picture, by Sir Thomas A. Jones, P.R.H.A.; in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Son of Joseph Dowsley Watkins, glover (of a family originally from New Ross, Co. Wexford), and Louisa Jane, daughter of Richard Dunckley, builder, of 42 South Great George's Street, was born in his father's house, 19 Essex Quay, on 10th June, 1833. He entered the Royal Dublin Society's Schools in 1847, and on the completion of his studies adopted the profession of a landscape painter. He devoted himself to the portrayal of Irish mountain scenery, finding his chief subjects in Connemara, Killarney, and other parts of Kerry, and was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1860. He exhibited three Killarney views in the Royal Academy, besides contributing to other London exhibitions between 1857 and 1875. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy on 10th July, 1861, and a full Member on 22nd September, 1864, and was for some years its secretary and one of its most active members, taking a great interest in its affairs, and popular with his brother artists.

He lived at 77 Dame Street, with his sister Louisa, who carried on there her father's business. Watkins's works were much admired and found a ready sale. One of his chief patrons was Sir Edward Hudson Kinahan, who for some years bought regularly most of the painter's pictures exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy. He was a slow worker, and his output was not great. He carefully built up his pictures, working upon and finishing small portions before he touched the rest, with the result that his pictures are over-elaborated, the details too minutely painted, and are wanting in breadth and artistic feeling. In his latter days he attempted a broader style. Most of his pictures are in oil, but he also worked in water-colour. While on a sketching tour in Kerry he contracted a cold which brought on congestion of the lungs, and the progress of the disease was so rapid that before his friends could reach him it proved fatal. He died at Upper Lauragh, Co. Kerry, on the 20th November, 1891, and was buried at Mount Jerome.

An uncle, BARTHOLOMEW WATKINS, born in Co. Wexford about 1794, became a pupil in the Dublin Society's Schools, obtained the first prize for landscape in 1818, and after practising as an artist for a short time set up in business as a picture-cleaner and dealer. He was for many years at 19 Bachelor's Walk, the premises now occupied by Messrs. Walsh, cabinet makers. Leaving Dublin he spent some years in London, but returned in 1861 and opened a "Fine Art Gallery" at 15 Kildare Street, where he carried on business as an "Artist, Importer and Restorer of Pictures" until 1864. He had a nephew, also Bartholomew, who was associated with him in his business, who showed some promise as an artist, but died young. Another uncle of Bartholomew Colles Watkins, GEORGE WATKINS, was an artist, and died in his brother's house in Essex Quay in 1840.

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