William Woodhouse, Medallist

(b. 1805, d. 1878)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was born in Dublin in 1805, the second son of John Woodhouse, who, having been trained in Birmingham, settled in Dublin at 35 Lower Ormond Quay as a metal button manufacturer, and died in 1836. William was educated in the Hardwicke Place School, and was afterwards apprenticed to a Mr. Halliday in Birmingham. He received a good training in drawing and designing, which enabled him to win the Duke of York's prize from the Society of Arts for a medal of Lord Byron. As a youth he was fond of athletic sports, and was a proficient in boxing. He was also a good rider, and it is said that he rode and won a race at Doncaster for the celebrated John Mytton of Halston. Returning to Dublin he started as a medallist and seal engraver at his father's house in Lower Ormond Quay, and in 1829 exhibited seals in the Royal Hibernian Academy. He subsequently exhibited in 1835, 1840 and 1842. In 1842 he was awarded the prize of £20, given by the Royal Irish Art Union, for a pair of dies, for his medal of the Rev. H. R. Dawson, Dean of St. Patrick's; and in 1843 the prize of £25 for his medal of Francis Johnston. For his medal commemorative of Edward Smyth, the sculptor, he was awarded the prize of £20 in 1844. Woodhouse's first important work was a seal for the Corporation of Brewers, and he was admitted a Freeman of their Guild. For many years he worked successfully at his profession, doing medallic work for the Royal Dublin Society, Trinity College, the Queen's University, etc. He also executed numerous seals for public bodies, and struck several of the tokens circulated by tradesmen in Dublin and various provincial towns. In 1847 he relinquished the active practice of his profession, and took a place, Woodville, Co. Wicklow, where he chiefly resided, leaving his work to be carried on by his son John. For some time his name continued to appear on his son's earlier works, so that his signature is found upon medals done after he had ceased work. He died on the 6th December, 1878, aged 73.


Medal to commemorate Lord Byron. Done while Woodhouse was an apprentice in Birmingham, and bears his master's name, Halliday F. With this medal he won the Duke of York's prize.

Medallet of George IV. A juvenile effort; the head is an accurate copy from the sovereign issued in 1825.

Henry R. Dawson, Dean of St. Patrick's. Obtained the prize of £20 from the R.I. Art Union in 1842.

Francis Johnston, architect. Commemorating the foundation of the Royal Hibernian Academy and the erection of the Academy House. Obtained the prize of £25 from the R.I. Art Union in 1843.

Edward Smyth. A portrait of Smyth, after a drawing by Comerford. Inscribed "Edward Smyth, Esq.," and, on reverse, "Sculptor of the Figures, etc, which adorn many of the public buildings in the city of Dublin. Born 1749. Died 1812." This medal was awarded the prize of £20 by the R.I. Art Union in 1844.

Oliver Goldsmith.

Peter Purcell.

William Dargan. To commemorate the Exhibition of 1853, erected at his expense. On reverse is a representation of the Exhibition Building.

William Dargan. A smaller medal, with a harp on reverse. The first die engraved by John Woodhouse as an apprentice to his father.

Daniel O'Connell. Commemorating his election as M.P. in 1828.

Daniel O'Connell. Commemorating his election as Lord Mayor in 1841. Both medals have the bust of O'Connell, after Turnerelli, on obverse, and Hibernia on reverse.

Daniel O'Connell. Obverse, same as above. Reverse, a view of the old Parliament House, with, in front, O'Connell robed as Lord Mayor presenting workmen to Hibernia, with a wolf-dog barking at a man running off with an armful of English goods. On rim, "Hibernia at the call of O'Connell adopts her own and rejects foreign manufacture, 1841."

Daniel O'Connell. Obverse. Same as foregoing. Reverse a wreath of shamrocks and a rayed crown. The reverse was not Woodhouse's work, but done in Birmingham.

Daniel O'Connell. Medallet, in brass, commemorating the Clare Election.

Daniel O'Connell. Medallet, in brass, commemorating the laying of the first stone of the O'Connell Monument in 1864.

Daniel O'Connell. Bust of O'Connell; after the bust prepared by Foley for the O'Connell Statue. In commemoration of his death. Signed W. Woodhouse. The last medal for which W. Woodhouse actually made the die. Reverse a representation of the O'Connell Monument; signed J. Woodhouse.

Rev. Theobald Mathew. Temperance medal.

St. Andrew's Abstinence Society. Temperance medal. Bears a copy of Smyth's figure of St. Andrew, which stood on the Round Church.

Erasmus Smith's Schools. Prize medal.

Trinity College. Prize medal. When the original dies failed, about 1871, John Woodhouse did new ones.

Trinity College. Prize medal. Similar to, but smaller than above.

College Historical Society. Mossop's design on obverse, with a new reverse.

The Queen's University. Prize medal.

Catholic University. Prize medal.

Catholic University Historical and Æsthetical Society. Prize medal.

Carlow College. Prize medal.

Carlow College. Small copy of last.

Visit of Queen Victoria to Ireland, 1849. Head of the Queen. Reverse is that of Mossop's second medal, commemorating the visit of George IV to Ireland.

William III "The Glorious and Immortal Memory."

William III. Similar to last. "Protestant meetings, Fishamble Street Theatre." Admission medal.

Suppression of Whiteboyism. Made for distribution by the Earl of Mulgrave to those engaged in the suppression of Whiteboy outrages in 1837.

Cork Exhibition. Opening of the Fine Arts Hall, 1852. The figures of Hope and Hibernia were from designs by Maclise.

Cork Exhibition, 1852. Commemorating the opening.

Dublin Exhibition, 1853. Commemorating Queen Victoria's visit.

Royal Dublin Society. Four prize medals. On obverse of each is a figure of Hibernia. Different subjects on reverse of each: 1st, Mare and Foal; 2nd, Group of Cattle; 3rd, Bull and Man; 4th, Farm-yard with implements and cattle.

Royal Dublin Society. A smaller medal, of different design to above.

Lord Clancarty's medal for his tenants.

Lord Downshire's medal. For improving tenants.

Agricultural Society of Ireland. Prize medal.

Agricultural Society of Ireland. A smaller medal.

Albert National Agricultural Training Institution. Prize medal. The reverse was the work of John Woodhouse while an apprentice to his father.

Farming Society of Ireland.

Horticultural Society of Ireland.

A Farming Medal. Inscribed "Speed the Plough."

Zoological Society. Medal to admit to Gardens on Sundays.

Friendly Brothers' Medal. A copy of Mossop's medal.

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