James Mahoney, Water-colour Painter

(b. 1810, d.1879)

Water-colour Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Cork about 1810, the son of William Mahoney, a carpenter. As a young man he studied in Rome and spent some years in travel abroad. Returning to Cork, he settled there as an artist, and in 1842, being then resident in his father's house, No. 34 Nile Street, he began to exhibit in the Royal Hibernian Academy, contributing, until 1846, water-colour views of Venice, Rome, Paris and Rouen, the results of his wanderings on the Continent. For the next few years he was again abroad, chiefly in Spain. He again exhibited in Dublin in 1856, and was elected an Associate of the Academy in that year. He made his last appearance in 1859 with two Spanish views, and in the same year resigned his Associateship and left Ireland. He settled in London, and contributed to the exhibitions of the Royal Academy between 1866 and 1877, and to the new Water-colour Society, of which he became an Associate in 1867. He found employment as a draughtsman on the "Illustrated London News," worked also for many of the leading periodicals of the day and illustrated serials in the "Sunday at Home" in 1865 and 1866, and the "Heiress of Chieveley Hall" in the "Leisure Hour" in 1867, which contains also a full-paged drawing by him of "The Blue-coat Boy's Mother." He contributed the frontispiece, "Summer," to the "Sunday Magazine" for 1866, and a series of twenty-eight illustrations to the volume for 1868, as well as a few in the volumes for 1869 and 1871.

Drawings by him will also be found in "Good Words" for 1869; "Cassell's Magazine," 1867; "The Argosy" and "The Quiver" in 1866; "Good Words for the Young," 1869 and 1871;"London Society," 1870; "Cassell's Illustrated Readings" and Whymper's "Scrambles in the Alps," 1870; and "National Nursery Rhymes," 1871. His most important work as an illustrator was in the "Household Edition" of Dickens' works: twenty-eight drawings for "Oliver Twist," fifty-eight for "Little Dorrit," and fifty-eight for "Our Mutual Friend." Mahoney was a clever artist, and although his water-colours are not of very high quality his work as a draughtsman and illustrator of "the Sixties" deserves recognition. He died of apoplexy at 26 Charles Street, Marylebone, on 29th May, 1879. His brother Patrick was an architect in Cork.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum is a drawing by him, "Now then, Lazy" exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1866. The National Gallery of Ireland possesses a number of his landscapes and views in water-colour, including a "View of Dublin taken from the spire of St. George's Church in 1853," which was exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1856; "Interior of the Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle," also in the Royal Hibernian Academy the same year; "Visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the Dublin Exhibition of 1853" (R.H.A., 1856); "Opening of the Dublin Exhibition in 1853 by Queen Victoria"; a "View in Venice"; "The North Choir Aisle in Westminster Abbey"; "Interior of St. George's Chapel, Windsor"; "Kilgobbin Castle" (R.H.A., 1856); "The Church of SS. Cosmas and Damianus, Rome"; "View of the City of Granada," a large drawing from sketches taken on the spot in October, 1855, and "The Church of San Josef, Cadiz," drawn in 1856. Several of his drawings were in the Cork Exhibition in 1852, including "Views in Rome and Venice," and "The City of Cork from the river near the Custom House," and "Queen's College, Cork." A portrait by him of Horace Townsend, rector of Carrigaline, Co. Cork, was engraved in mezzotint by James Scott.

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