James Reily, Miniature Painter

(d. 1780)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

He was educated at the Blue-coat School, Oxmantown, which he entered in August, 1745, and left on 3rd February, 1748, on his apprenticeship to Samuel Dixon (q.v.), of Capel Street. Showing, as the Dublin Society's records tell us, a genius for drawing and being very poor, he was at the same time placed by the Society as a pupil in Robert West's drawing-school in George's Lane. He was employed by Dixon in colouring basso-relievo prints of birds and flowers, and on the termination of his apprenticeship started practice for himself as a miniature painter, at first in Capel Street and then in "a fine house of his own" in Grafton Street (O'Keeffe's "Recollections"), where he resided until his death. He exhibited with the Society of Artists in Dublin from 1765 to 1769, and in 1772, 1773 and 1779, principally miniatures. He attempted, but without success, painting historical pictures, and exhibited "The Death of Virginia" in 1767. He married in 1760, when living in Capel Street, Jane Blackney of County Meath. In the announcement of his marriage in "Sleator's Public Gazetteer" he is styled "a celebrated portrait painter." He died in 1780.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum is a miniature portrait of "Robert Berry," signed J. Reily 1763; and in the National Museum, Dublin, is a portrait of a "Lady " signed and dated 1764.

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