George Sharp, Portrait and Figure Painter

(b. 1802, d. 1877)

Portrait and Figure Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

George Sharp, R.H.A. Chalk drawing, by Harriett Osborne; in the possession of Mrs. Griffin, Warrington Place, Dublin.

Was born in 1802, the son of George Sharp of Molesworth Street, Dublin, the manager or steward of the Kildare Street Club. He made his art studies in Paris under Picot and Couture, and was also for a time in London. In 1835 he began to exhibit in the Royal Hibernian Academy, and from that year until 1866 his works, principally portraits and domestic scenes, painted in a broad and free style, regularly appeared on the Academy walls. He was elected an Associate on 9th May, 1842, and his name was included as a Member in the new charter in 1860. His principal occupation after 1842 was in teaching, and he made the subject of instruction in elementary drawing a special study. He adopted, with some modifications, the system of Alexandre Dupuis, used in the Government schools in France, and translated, in 1845, work written by Dupuis on the subject. He read a paper on his method before the Royal Dublin Society in January, 1852, which was published as a pamphlet.*

On the opening of the School of Design in Belfast in 1856, Sharp addressed a letter to Lord Stanley of Alderley, President of the Board of Trade, asking to be afforded an opportunity of publicly testing his system in a Government school; and he also wrote to Lord Dufferin. Lord Stanley curtly declined his offer, saying that if he was desirous of an appointment as master he would have to enter the training school and comply with its regulations.

Sharp's "Models to facilitate the teaching of Drawing," were exhibited by him in Cork in 1852. He was well known as a teacher in Dublin and the country, and although a man of some eccentricity of character, he was a general favourite.

Early in 1868 he was stricken with paralysis which deprived him of the power of working. Efforts were made to assist him, and thirty-three artists in London contributed sketches which were bound in a large album by Marcus Ward of Belfast. This album, together with two pieces of statuary and fifteen framed pictures, were disposed of by lottery at Cranfield's print-shop. Though he made attempts to work, Sharp was never able to paint or draw again; he lingered on for some years and died in his house in Wentworth Place, Dublin, on 5th December, 1877.

A bust portrait of him, modelled by John Lawlor, is in the National Museum, Kildare Street; and a portrait in chalks belongs to his daughter Mrs. Griffin, Warrington Place, Dublin.


* "A Lecture on Elementary Drawing," by George Sharp, Dublin; George Herbert, 117 Grafton Street, 1852.

"Two letters on the subject of Elementary Drawing," etc., by George Sharp, A.R.H.A., Dublin, 1856.

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