John Kirkwood, Engraver

(d. 1853)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was son of James Kirkwood, one of a family of engravers in Edinburgh. The great fire in Edinburgh on 15th November, 1824, originated in the house in Old Assembly Close occupied by the Kirkwoods, from a pot of linseed oil, preparing for making copper-plate printing ink, taking fire. James and his son John, who had served his apprenticeship to Charles Heath the engraver, came to Dublin about 1826, and as James Kirkwood and son established themselves at No. 17 Grafton Street as engravers and copper-plate printers. In an advertisement issued by them they refer to their "long experience as engravers to most of the bankers in Scotland and a great number in England." In 1828 they moved to 21 Bachelor's Walk, and next year to Lower Ormonde Quay. In 1830 they were at 11 Crow Street, and from 1834 the business was carried on by John Kirkwood only, who from 1844 was at No. 3 Cecilia Street. In 1827 he exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy two marine pictures and one "Specimen of Engraving"; and next year one marine picture and one of a military subject, but did not again exhibit. For many years John Kirkwood occupied the foremost place as an engraver in Dublin, and was much employed on book illustrations. He etched the series of portraits which appeared in the "Dublin University Magazine" from 1834 down to 1844, besides other portraits published separately, and did numerous views and other plates for books both in etching and line-engraving. In 1845 he retired from his profession and returned to Edinburgh where he died in 1853. His son, George Kirkwood, was associated with him for some time, and after his retirement carried on the business as John Kirkwood and Son in conjunction with Thomas Knox,* a clever Scotch engraver who had been John Kirkwood's principal assistant and manager. George afterwards joined Waller's business in Suffolk Street, which is now carried on by his son Henry Kirkwood.

Among John Kirkwood's engraved work were portraits of "William Wyon," "John Lindsay," "Aquila Smith," after Burton; "Richard Sainthill," after Maclise, all etchings; and the following etched portraits in the "Dublin University Magazine": "Dr. Edward Walsh " (Vol. III, 1834); "Rev. Caesar Otway," "Dr. Anster," "George Petrie" and "Earl of Roden" (all in Vol. XIV, 1839); "Jonathan Swift," "Rev. Robert Walsh," "Lord Chancellor Plunket," "Martin Doyle," "Sir Philip Crampton" (all in Vol. XV, 1840); "Lord John G. Beresford," Archbishop of Armagh; "Mrs. S. C. Hall," "Rev. Charles Stuart Stanford," "Edward Litton, Q.C."; "Isaac Butt," "Sir Josias Rowley" (all in Vol. XVI, 1840); "William Carleton," "Archbishop Ussher," "Daniel O'Connell," "Meadows Taylor," "Lt.-Col. Blacker," "Rev. Dr. Miller" (all in Vol. XVII, 1841); "Charles Kendal Bushe," "W. H. Maxwell," "Dr. Barrett," "Henry R. Addison," "Lt.-Col. F. R. Chesney," "Sir Henry Marsh" (all in Vol. XVIII, 1841); "Sir Wm. Rowan Hamilton," "Robert James Graves," "Lord Gort," "Thomas Moore," Rev. W. Archer Butler," "John Wilson Croker" (all in Vol. XIX, 1842); "Admiral Sir Robert Stopford" (Vol. XX, 1842); "Percival Barton Lord" (Vol. XXII, 1843); "William Maginn" and "Abraham Colles" (Vol. XXIII, 1844); "F. Blackburn" (Vol. XXIV, 1844). He drew and etched "The Custom House" (10 ½ by 12), and engraved a number of small views of Dublin for Curry of Sackville Street, who also published an engraved portrait by him of "Dr. Evory Kennedy." Kirkwood did illustrations for some of Carleton's works. He drew and engraved the maps in "The County Atlas of Ireland," published in parts by McGlashan of 21 D'Olier Street, and published the "Dublin and Kingstown Railway Companion, with Views" in 1834.

NOTE: * Knox engraved two large plates in outline: "Returning from Donnybrook Fair" and "Irish Mail Car in a Storm."

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