Richard Barter, Sculptor

(b. about 1824, d. 1896)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born at Macroom, County Cork, about 1824. Showing a taste for art he, in 1844, at about the age of twenty, went to Dublin and entered the Royal Dublin Society's School. In 1847, while still a student, his model for a statuette of "Venus and Cupid" obtained a prize from the Royal Irish Art Union, a work which, the Report says, gave "promise of another name being added to our already rich list of national sculptors." In Dublin he made many friends, including Daniel O'Connell, who was delighted with the vivacity and quaint humour of his conversation and took a great interest in his progress.

Leaving Ireland he spent a few years in London, where he met Foley, the sculptor, and other artists whose friendship he retained throughout his life. On his return to Ireland he worked for a short time in Dublin, and about 1853 settled at St. Anne's Hill, Blarney, near the Hydropathic Institution kept by his namesake Dr. Barter. Here he built himself a studio and worked for the rest of his life, paying occasional visits to London to his artistic friends.

At Blarney he occupied himself not only in sculpture, but in music at which he was a proficient. He was a man of considerable and original talent, and had he remained in London and pursued his profession with energy and earnestness he might have achieved a position for himself as a sculptor.

His work was always original, and his portrait busts showed great skill and perception of character; but he was without ambition, and was contented to pass his life among his friends, occupying himself with the work he loved and never aiming higher than portrait busts and little subject-groups.

He exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1845, 1847 and 1851, many of his contributions being miniature busts in ivory. To the Royal Academy he occasionally contributed between 1864 and 1874. He died at St. Anne's Hill, Blarney, on 5th January, 1896, in his seventy-first year, and was buried in St. Finn Barr's Cemetery, Cork. To the last he was, what he had been throughout life, one who combined with brilliant gifts a child-like simplicity of nature that won for him affection for his character as well as admiration for his abilities. Amongst works by him are:

Bust of Catherine Hayes. R.H.A., 1851, and Dublin Ex., 1853.

Thomas Little, M.D.

C. S. Parnell, M.P. Posthumous bust done from photographs.

Bust of "Father Prout." [School of Art, Cork.]

Venus and Cupid.

The Lesson Interrupted. Group in plaster, Dublin Ex., 1853.

Death of Virginia. R.A., 1864.

Friendship. R.A., 1874.

« James Barry | Contents and Search | Francis Bate »