Edward Daniel Leahy, Portrait and Subject Painter

(b. 1797, d. 1875)

Portrait and Subject Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Edward Daniel Leahy. Drawing by J. P. Davis; in possession of Miss Fitzgerald, 21 Hatch Street, Dublin.

Was son of David Leahy of Dublin, afterwards of London, who was of a Cork family. He was born in London in 1797. He studied in the Dublin Society's School, where he carried off several prizes between 1811 and 1814. He exhibited two portraits with the Hibernian Society of Artists in 1815, as well as a "Portrait of Himself" and a "Portrait of a Gentleman" in the Dublin Society's House in Hawkins Street. He was then living at No. 2 Fleet Street. In 1816 he sent from Anglesea Street four portraits, including one of himself, to the exhibition in Hawkins Street and was awarded a premium by the Irish Institute. In 1817 he exhibited three works. Soon afterwards he went to London and established himself as a portrait and subject painter. He began to exhibit in the Royal Academy in 1820, when he sent a "Portrait of Mrs. Yates of Covent Garden in the character of Meg Merrilies." He soon attained to a good position as an artist, painting the portraits of many prominent persons of the time, and continued to exhibit, both at the Royal Academy and the British Institution, until 1841. In 1826 he sent two pictures to the first exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy, "Recovery of the Intercepted Letter," previously exhibited at the British Institution in 1824, and "The Fortune Teller," which had been in the Royal Academy in 1821. He continued to exhibit in Dublin at intervals up to 1846, sending "Musidora" in 1828, "La Tamburella" and "Mary Queen of Scots' Farewell to France" in 1842. This picture had been engraved by J. Goodyear in 1828, was purchased by the Royal Irish Art Union for £70 and won as a prize by J. B. Knox, of Ennis. "A Roman Girl at a Balcony" was exhibited in 1843, and in 1846 a "Portrait of William Cuming, ex-President of the Academy," a picture which Leahy had shown in the London Academy in 1832, and is now in the Council Room of the Royal Hibernian Academy, the gift of the painter.

Between 1837 and 1845 Leahy visited Italy and painted in Rome a portrait of "John Gibson," R.A., which he sent to the Royal Academy in 1843. He appears to have paid occasional visits to Ireland, and in 1846 painted in Cork a portrait of "Father Mathew." This picture was in the Royal Academy in 1847, and is now in the National Portrait Gallery. Among other portraits exhibited by him were: "Sir John M. Tierney, m.d.," R.A., 1821; "The Duke of Sussex," R.A., 1826; "Lord Oxmantown," R.A., 1833; "R. L. Sheil," R.A., 1833, and "The Marquess of Bristol," R.A., 1835. His "Portrait of Dr. John James Leahy," exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1824 as a "Portrait of a Gentleman," is now in the College of Physicians, Dublin. Among his historical and subject pictures were "Catching the Expression," B.I., 1824, which belonged to Thomas Moore; "The Battle of the Nile" and "Trafalgar," B.I., 1826; "Jaques Moralizing on the Wounded Stag," R.A., 1831, and B.I., 1833, a large picture 6 ft. 3 by 5 ft. 6; "Othello," R.A., 1832; "Mary Queen of Scots' Escape from Loch Leven Castle," painted for the Earl of Egremont, R.A., 1838 (the sketch for this picture was in B.I., 1844); "Lady Jane Grey removed to Execution," R.A., 1844; "Expectation," R.A., 1850, exhibited in Cork in 1852; "A View in the Dargle," B.I., 1845. In the National Gallery of Scotland is the "Marriage at Cana," a copy by Leahy of the picture by Paul Veronese in the Louvre.

Leahy died at Brighton on the 9th February, 1875. A small portrait of him in Indian ink with a little colour, belongs to Miss Fitzgerald, 21 Hatch Street, Dublin. On the back of the frame is "Drawn by his friend, Mr. J. P. Davis, in 1830."

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