Philip Simms, Engraver

(fl. 1725-1749)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

An early Dublin engraver who resided in Dame Street, and afterwards in Crown Alley, in the first half of the eighteenth century. He worked for George Faulkner and others of the Dublin publishers. A portrait of "William Molyneux" which forms the frontispiece to the 8vo edition of the "Case of Ireland Stated," published in 1725, was engraved by him. He also engraved the frontispiece to "The Constitution of the Free Masons, containing the History, Charges, Regulations, etc., of that most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity for the use of the Lodges. . . . Dublin, printed by J. Watts, at the Lord Carteret's Head in Dame Street, for J. Pannell at the Three Blue Bonnets in St. Patrick's Street in the year of Masonry 5930. Anno Domini 1730." This plate, which is inscribed Engrav'd by Phill. Simms in Dames Street Dublin, is a copy, in reverse, of that engraved by John Pine as frontispiece to the "Book of Constitutions" published in London in 1723. It was afterwards copied, with some alterations, for the "New Book of Constitutions" published in Dublin in 1751. It shows the Grand Master, the Duke of Wharton, handing the roll of Constitutions to his successor, the Duke of Montagu, attended by the wardens, chaplain and others.

Simms also engraved the frontispiece to Vol. II of Swift's Poetical Works, published by Faulkner in 1744, and a number of large plates in the "Universal History," published in seven folio volumes by Faulkner the same year. These plates are "Noah's Ark," "Temple of Balbeck," "Prospect of Balbeck," "Ruins of Palmyra," "The Temple of Jerusalem," "The Mausoleum and the Theatre of Augustus," "The Palace of Julius Caesar," "The Amphitheatre of Claudius," portraits of Roman Emperors and others. The translation of "Don Quixote," by Charles Jervas, published in Dublin by Peter Wilson in 1747, has illustrations by Simms, and the Dublin edition of Burnet's "History of the Reformation," three volumes, folio, 1730-33, has plates by him copied from those in the London edition of 1681. These plates are the frontispiece and portraits of Henry VIII, Catherine of Arragon, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cranmer, Ann Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas Moore, in the first volume; frontispiece and portraits of Edward VI, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, Queen Mary, Lady Jane Grey, Stephen Gardiner, Nicholas Ridley, Cardinal Pole, Queen Elizabeth and Matthew Parker, in the second volume; and Hugh Latimer, John Jewell, Nicholas Bacon, Sir William Cecil and Sir Francis Walsingham in the third. These are signed either P. Simms sculpt. or P.S. sculpt.

In 1733, when he was living in Crown Alley, Simms advertised that "Gentlemen and Ladies may have their coats of arms curiously engraved for their books or on plate." An armorial book-plate by him of "John Anderson, M.D." is inscribed P. Simms Sculpsit et dono dedit ob filiam unicam a morbo Vindicatam. This and another book-plate by him of "Thomas Jones" are in the Franks collection in the British Museum.

Simms was a member of the Goldsmiths' Corporation, having been admitted to its freedom in 1736. His name does not appear after 1749, and he probably died in that year.

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