Richard Thomas Moynan, Portrait and Figure Painter

(b. 1856, d. 1906)

Portrait and Figure Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Richard T. Moynan, R.H.A. Photograph.

Was born on 27th April, 1856, at No. 1 Eldon Terrace, South Circular Road, Dublin, the second son of Richard Moynan and his wife, Harriet Noble. Intended for the medical profession, he studied at the Royal College of Surgeons, and had nearly completed his course when his love for art, inherited perhaps from his mother who was a clever amateur painter, induced him to abandon a career never congenial to him, and apply himself to the study of painting. He accordingly entered himself as a pupil in the Royal Dublin Society's School of Art, where, besides other successes, the prize for Painting in the Taylor competition in 1881 and the Cowper prize for the best drawing from life in 1882, fell to him. As a student in the Royal Hibernian Academy's School he won a silver and a bronze medal and a prize for the best study in the painting class in 1883, and in the same year carried off the Albert Scholarship for the best picture shown in the Academy by a student, with his "Last Stand of the 24th at Isandula." He had already exhibited, having contributed landscapes and figure subjects to the Academy in 1880, 1881 and 1882.

Eager to advance himself in his art he proceeded to Antwerp in 1884, and there placed himself under Verlat and others; and after six months' study he gained the first place for painting from the living model in the annual concours," in which a hundred students of all nationalities competed. Going to Paris he studied under Collin, Courtois, Robert-Fleury and Bouguereau, and was several times placed first in drawing, painting and composition. In 1886, on the completion of his studies, he returned to Dublin, and soon won recognition by the quality of his work. He found employment as a portrait painter; but it was as a delineator of scenes of domestic life and incidents of the streets that he excelled. He delighted in depicting features in the life of the poor, finding his models in the children of the streets. His "Jo," a subject from "Bleak House," exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1890, was a notable example of his work; and his powers were well shown in such works as "A Travelling Show," "Military Manoeuvres" and other similar pictures.

He contributed the drawings for the cartoons, signed "Lex," in the "Unionist" newspaper. For several years he was a leading and most popular exhibitor at the Academy, and had every prospect of a brilliant career; but unfortunately he gave way to intemperance which gradually affected his powers and his health, and ultimately wrecked his career. For the last three or four years of his life he painted but little; he sent a large unfinished picture to the Academy in 1902; the next two years he was absent, but sent in an unimportant work in 1905. He died at his residence, 15 Garville Avenue, Rathgar, on 10th April, 1906, and was buried on the 12th at Mount Jerome.

Amongst his portraits and other pictures are:

T. R. G. Jozé. R.H.A., 1888. [Masonic Hall, Molesworth Street.]

Philip H. Bagenal. [Philip H. Bagenal, Harrogate.] R.H.A., 1889.

Thomas Allen. R.H.A., 1889.

Denis Redmond, F.R.C.S.I. R.H.A., 1893.

Albert Wynne Foot, M.D. R.H.A., 1894.

Sir Robert Stewart. R.H.A., 1895. Painted for the Dublin University Choral Society.

J. M. Fitzgibbon, Managing Director, Minister and Leinster Bank. R.H.A., 1897.

Geo. Jn. Cockle. R.H.A., 1898.

Mrs. Cockle. R.H.A., 1898.

Sir James Creed Meredith. [Masonic Hall, Molesworth Street.] R.H.A., 1901.

The Last Stand of the 24th at Isandula. R.H.A., 1883. Gained the Albert Scholarship.

Lorelei, a Rhine Legend. R.H.A., 1890.

The Village Pump. R.H.A., 1890.

Military Manoeuvres. R.H.A., 1891. Exhibited at Chicago and San Francisco, and sold at the latter exhibition.

A Travelling Show. [Wentworth Allen, Bray.] R.H.A., 1892.

A Mute Appeal. [Wentworth Allen, Bray.] R.HtA., 1895.

Jo ("Bleak House," Chap. XVI). [Lord Iveagh.] R.H.A., 1899.

Rescue. R.H.A., 1900.

A City Arab. [Wentworth Allen.]

The Last Man. [S. Ashley Cockle, Merrion Square.]

The Street Arab's Tribute. R.H.A., 1902. An unfinished work.

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