John Henry Nelson, Portrait Painter and Sculptor

(b. about 1800, d. 1847)

Portrait Painter and Sculptor

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Ireland about 1800, but his name does not occur as an artist until 1834, when he sent, from Wormwood Gate, a "Portrait of an Artist" to the Royal Hibernian Academy. He next exhibited in 1837 four portraits, including one of "the Rev. Thomas Flinn, chaplain to the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Ireland"; in 1838 eight portraits, including "John Jones, Sheriff of Dublin," and in 1844 seven portraits, including one of "Francis Blackburne, Master of the Rolls," and one of "the Rev. Franc Sadleir, Provost of Trinity College," painted in 1843, which now hangs in the Provost's House. In 1844 he took to sculpture, and was awarded a prize of five pounds by the Royal Irish Art Union for a Head of Sappho, his first attempt. In the following year he exhibited a "Bust of a Gentleman" at the Royal Hibernian Academy, and in 1846 a portrait in oils of "Sir William Rowan Hamilton" and a "Bust of Rev. Alexander McDonnell of Trinity College." His "Venus Attiring," a statue modelled from life, and certified by some of the leading Dublin surgeons to be "anatomically correct"! was awarded a prize of fifteen pounds by the Royal Irish Art Union in 1845, and was exhibited in 1846 at 13 D'Olier Street by the artist, who endeavoured to obtain subscriptions to enable him to execute it in marble. He took it to Manchester and exhibited it there the following year. He died in Manchester on 26th December, 1847, leaving a widow and four children without provision.

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