Edward Sheil, Subject Painter

(b. 1834, d. 1869)

Subject Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Edward Sheil, R.H.A. Photograph.

Was born at Coleraine in or about 1834. He was a pupil in the School of Art in Cork, and in July, 1857, was appointed second master under D. W. Raimbach. He became head master in 1859. The school prospered under his direction, but his constitution, always delicate, unfitted him for strenuous work, and in 1860 he resigned. He was presented by the Committee of Management with a testimonial of the great efficiency with which he had fulfilled his duties. He went to Italy, and after a short stay there he returned to Cork and settled there as an artist. A man of strong religious feeling and high ideals, his pictures were mostly of religious and sentimental subjects, and he found it difficult to accommodate his powers to the ideas and taste of the public, and so his pictures were unbought. He first exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1855, and continued until 1860. His "Excelsior," exhibited in 1859, in which the male figure is a portrait of himself, was sold after his death for one hundred guineas. It afterwards belonged to Dr. J. J. Kenny of 13 Rutland Square, and was sold in 1900 for nineteen pounds. "Home after Work," exhibited in 1863, was bought by the Earl of Carlisle; "The Angel of Intercession," 1864, belonged to the late Judge Berwick, and this picture, as well as "Jacob's Dream" and "Spring," were in the Dublin Exhibition of 1865. His "Emigrant" belongs to Mr. R. MacDougal, Drumleck, Howth. In 1866 he made his only contribution to the Royal Academy, a picture of "Gethsemane," which was highly praised in the "Times" and other papers.

Sheil was elected an Associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy on 30th December, 1861, and a Member on 26th November, 1864. He died on 11th March, 1869, in the South Mall, Cork, in the house of his friend Denny Lane, aged 35. He left a wife and two children. His younger brother, George, to whom he was devotedly attached, was for many years on the staff of the "Cork Examiner."

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