Richard Cranfield, Carver

(b. 1731, d. 1809)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in 1731, perhaps a son, or nephew, of Richard Cranfield, of Abbey Street, "joiner and gilder," who died in October, 1750, and was buried on the 7th of that month at St. Andrew's Church. In 1756 he was awarded by the Dublin Society a premium of six pounds for a piece of sculpture. In 1765, when he was living in Church Lane, he sent to the exhibition of the Society of Artists in George's Lane an "Emblematical Group of Hibernia" carved in wood, executed for the Hibernian Silk Warehouse which had been established by the Corporation of Weavers for the sale of silken goods manufactured in Ireland, and opened in February, 1765. At the same exhibition Cranfield had also a bas-relief in wood of "Elijah taken up into Heaven"; and next year he exhibited a "Group of Boys representing Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture." He also exhibited in 1767, 1768, and 1769. He did the carving for the Dublin Society's new premises in Grafton Street, and in 1767 carved "the new chair for the Society's presiding member." In 1771 he was engaged in the carving and gilding in the Provost's House, and also in the woodwork in the Blue-Coat School.

He was Treasurer of the Society of Artists, and when its affairs became embarrassed the Exhibition House in William Street fell into his hands and ceased to be used for the purposes for which it was built. Cranfield lived for some years in Hog Hill, but in 1765 moved to Church Lane, where, from 1783, he was associated for some time in his business with his son, John Smith Cranfield (q.v.). He had property in Irishtown and Sandymount, and on his retirement from his profession he took up his residence in 1797 at Tritonville Lodge, Sandymount, and was the founder of the well-known "Cranfield's Baths" at Merrion. He died on the 21st January, 1809, and was buried at St. Andrew's. His wife, Elizabeth Brien, whom he married in 1748, predeceased him in 1805. By her he had, besides other children, a daughter Emily, wife of William Cooley son of the architect Thomas Cooley, and mother of the portrait painter, Thomas Cooley (q.v.), and two sons, John Smith Cranfield (q.v.) and Thomas. The latter graduated in Trinity College in 1792, became a clergyman, and was for fifty-five years curate and rector of Templeseskin, Co. Wexford, and died in 1853. He was author of a "Harmony of the Gospels," and left many other works in manuscript.

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