Samuel Skillin, Subject Painter

(b. c. 1819, d. 1847)

Subject Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

A native of Cork, where he was born about 1819; he was an artist of some talent, but died young before the promise of his early years could be fulfilled. He displayed great enthusiasm for art and eagerness to excel, and was much helped and encouraged by Richard Sainthill of Cork, the early patron of Maclise. A "Scene from the Marriage of Figaro," and a "Portrait of John Clarke, King of the Beggars of Munster," by him, were in the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1842. John Clarke had served in the Navy, and was for three years a prisoner of war at Amiens. The picture was painted from life, and was purchased by the Royal Irish Art Union for twenty pounds. It was won as a prize by the Rev. D. W. Fox of Rathmines, and afterwards belonged to J. Windele of Cork. Skillin again contributed to the Academy in 1843, and then went to London for the purposes of study. He also visited Spain, Italy and other parts of the Continent; and during his travels, which lasted two years, he contributed a series of letters to the "Literary Gazette." He lived but a short time after his return to Cork, dying on the 27th January, 1847, in Patrick Street, where his two sisters carried on business as haberdashers. A portrait of "William Maginn" by him was etched by J. Kirkwood for the "Dublin University Magazine," Vol. XXIII, 1 844. He did some etchings, including a small portrait of the old Countess of Desmond. His portrait at the age of 17, painted by William Fisher (q.v.), is in the Cork Museum.

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