John Smyth (or Smith), Sculptor

(b. about 1773, d. 1840)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Son of Edward Smyth (q.v.), was born about 1773. He received instruction in the Dublin Society's School and worked with his father at 36 Montgomery Street. His first appearance as an exhibitor was in 1809, when a bust of King George III, the joint work of himself and his father, was at the exhibition in Hawkins Street. He exhibited busts again in 1811, 1813, 1815, 1817 and 1819. His first important work was the monument to John Ball, Serjeant-at-Law, erected in St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1817 by members of the Bar. He executed a number of statues for public buildings, including those over the portico of the General Post Office and on the College of Surgeons; but his work, though of merit, is inferior to that of his father. He repaired the statue of William III in College Green after it had been blown up in 1836; replacing the head, the left arm and leg, by new work. The head he modelled from a bust by Van Nost. He also assisted his father in the sculpture in the Chapel Royal, and completed the work. In 1812 he succeeded his father in the Mastership of the Dublin Society's Modelling School. He was one of the original Associates of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and contributed to its exhibitions in 1826, 1830 and 1831. He resigned his Associateship in 1834 and died in March, 1840.

By his wife, Mary, John Smyth was father of a numerous family. His eldest son, WILLIAM SMYTH, born in 1804, was brought up as a sculptor; he entered the Dublin Society's Modelling School in 1814 at the age of 10, and afterwards worked in his father's studio; but he did not attain any eminence in his profession. He was employed in the sculpture work in Marlborough Street Church. After his father's death in 1840 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Mastership of the Dublin Society's Modelling School. He afterwards went to London and died there in obscurity. The youngest son, GEORGE SMYTH, born in 1818, was also a sculptor and worked with his brother William. He had a son, also George, who is still living and working as a sculptor, chiefly in church decoration, at 193 Great Brunswick Street, Dublin.

John Smyth's works comprise the following:

John Ball, Serjeant-at-Law. Monument erected to his memory by the Members of the Bar, 1817. [St. Patrick's Cathedral.]

John Boardman, Grand Treasurer of the Freemasons of Ireland; marble slab, surmounted by bas-relief of Faith, Hope and Charity; erected by the Grand Lodge. [St. Patrick's Cathedral.]

John Claudius Beresford. Bust. [Royal Dublin Society.]

Rev. Thomas Carpendale. Monument, 1818. [Armagh Cathedral.]

William Dease, Surgeon. Bust. Ex. Dublin, 1813. [Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin.]

John Egan. Bust. R.H.A., 1830.

George III. Bust. The joint work of himself and his father. Ex. Dublin, 1809.

George III. Bust. [National Gallery, Dublin.]

George IV. Bust. [Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin.]

John Hamilton, of Annadale Cottage. Bust. R.H.A., 1831.

Hon. George Knox. Bust. R.H.A., 1826.

Rt. Hon. George Ogle, M.P. Statue. [St. Patrick's Cathedral.]

Surgeon John Shekleton. Bust. R.H.A., 1826. [Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin.]

Charles, Earl Whitworth, Lord Lieutenant. Bust. [Secretary's Office, General Post Office.] Ex. Dublin, 1819. In commemoration of his laying the first stone of building, 12th August, 1814.

Hibernia, Mercury and Fidelity. Statues over the portico of the General Post Office.

Æsculapius, supported by Minerva and Hygeia; statues on apex of pediment of Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. Also the Royal Arms in the tympanum.

Heads of Palladio, Michael Angelo and Raphael, over the entrance door and windows of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Abbey Street.

Six Heads over the arches of Richmond Bridge, Dublin; on one side Peace, Hibernia and Commerce; on the other, Plenty, the River Liffey, and Industry.

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