James O'Malley, Portrait and Subject Painter

(b. about 1816, d. 1888)

Portrait and Subject Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born at Newport, Co. Mayo, in or about 1816, the second son of Patrick O'Malley, a well-to-do farmer and shopkeeper. From his childhood he displayed a talent for drawing, and became a pupil of Martin Cregan (q.v.), in whose studio he remained for some years. He began to exhibit in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1840, and in that and the two following years contributed a number of portraits and pictures of life in the west of Ireland. Subsequently he was for some years in America, where he followed his profession as a portrait painter. A portrait of "Archbishop Hughes," of New York, was engraved in 1853. From 1867 to 1879 he was living in Cross Street, Galway, and had a fair practice as a painter of portraits and religious subjects. A portrait of "Archbishop McHale," painted in 1862, is in St. Jarlath's College, Tuam, and another, painted in 1868, is in the Presentation Convent. Portraits of "Bishop McEvilly," "Bishop Carr," of Melbourne, "Bishop McCormack" and "Father Tom Burke," are in the Dominican Convent in Galway.

A portrait of "Charles French Blake Forster" was in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1875, and his "Connemara Wedding" and "The Tooth Drawer" were exhibited in 1842, "The Claddagh Musician" in 1845, and "The Galway Piper" in 1882. Religious pictures by him are in the Pro-Cathedral, Galway, and in the Parish church, Westport. He was a frequent exhibitor in the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1875 to 1882. He left Galway in 1879, and for the next few years lived with his sister, Mrs. Nelson, at Derrintagart Cottage, Newport, but returned to Galway in 1884. He again went to Newport in 1887, and died there suddenly, of heart disease, on the 16th October, 1888. O'Malley was of a modest and retiring disposition, living alone and making but few friends; upright and sincere, and devoted to his art. "Every stone," he used to say, "has a beauty for me."

« William Oldham | Contents and Search | Rowland Omer »