Richard Lyster, Portrait and Subject Painter

(d. 1863)

Portrait and Subject Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Cork, and as a youth was a clerk in the office of Murphy, official assignee. Here, as at school, he was constantly sketching and drawing, and his employer, perceiving his talent, encouraged him to take up art as a profession and assisted him to go to Rome to study. He remained in Italy five years, and on his return to Cork settled down as an artist. He painted portraits and also some subject pieces, such as the "Baron of Grogswig," from Dickens' "Nicholas Nickleby," now in the possession of Mr. F. Thompson of Lauriston, Glanmire, who also has his picture of "The Spinning Wheel"; "Mother, he is going away," illustrating a ballad of Samuel Lover, which was in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1858 and was much admired; "The Cobbler," "Marianna" and "The Girl who found the Leprachaun." This latter work belongs to Mr. Daly of Cleevefield, Cork, and a sketch for it belongs to Mr. Holland of 14 North Mall. Mr. Frank Murphy possesses his "Girl with a Hood," and the Rev. J. H. Webster, of Sunday's Well, his "Fishermen."

Among his portraits was one of the Rev. F. Mahony (Father Prout), painted in Rome. He exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1858 to 1862, chiefly subject pictures. When at Rome he was attacked with malaria, which permanently affected his health, and for many years he strove against an enfeebled constitution and consumption. He died at his residence in Cove Street, Cork, on 1st August, 1863. Lyster was a man of many social accomplishments; he had a fine voice and a playful and ready wit. "With a big heart and a winning suavity of manner he united a vigorous intellect and a wit that dazzled and delighted everyone who came within its range. In a word, he was an excellent man and a man of undoubted genius. His life is the life of many other men of genius: large capacity of intellect marred a good deal in its development by a feeble constitution" ("Cork Daily Herald," 3rd August, 1863).

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