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18th Century Portrait Of George O'connor By Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1950)


"18th Century Portrait Of George O'connor By Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1950)"
Portrait of George O'Connor of Castleknock, (1778-1842) wearing a white shirt adorned with lace cuffs and collar, a red jacket with gold buttons, buff breeches and black shoes with silver curls, sitting sideways on a chair. This painting dates from Shee's early successful years in Dublin and is a very rare example of this short period of work in his native country. Oil on canvas, 76 x 64cm, in a beautiful carved and gilded Georgian frame.

Provenance:
Painted circa 1786, then by family descent until sold at Christies, December 13, 1912 (as by George Romney) for 720 guineas;
Private collection, United States;
Maillet, Bond Street, London
Private collection since 2009.

Sir Martin Archer Shee, the only Irish president of the Royal Academy, was born in Dublin on December 20, 1769, to a family originally from Kilkenny who later moved to County Mayo. He was sent to school in Dublin and there developed his drawing talent, which later became his trademark. Shee entered the Dublin Society School of Drawing in 1781, aged twelve, where, under the tutelage of Francis Robert West, he won virtually every medal and prize for which he was entered, including the Medal landscape (1782) and portrait (1783). ).
At the age of 16 or 17 he set up his own studio at 32 Dame Street, Dublin. Encouraged by Gilbert Stuart, the American painter then working in Ireland, he moved to England in June 1788, working first as a copyist for the engravers Macklin and Boydell. He was then introduced to Sir Joshua Reynolds, who advised him to join the Royal Academy Schools, to which he was admitted in November 1790, just before his 21st birthday, and the following year he presented the first of his very many exhibitions at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. He was admitted as an Associate of the Academy in 1798 and his career from then on was that of a resoundingly successful portrait painter, especially when, after the death of Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1830, he was overwhelmingly elected President of the Royal Academy; the same year, he was knighted. Shee was a Fellow of the Society of Dilettanti, the Royal Society and several cultural institutes and academies overseas. Besides painting, he was a poet, critic and playwright. He died at Brighton on 19 August 1850.

George O'Connor was the son of the Reverend John O'Connor of Tipperary (1738-1803), who became Vicar of Arboe in 1773, and Rector of Castlenock, County Dublin, in 1794 Like his father before him, George was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he matriculated on 6 October 1794 at the age of 15, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in the winter term of 1799. He was received, like his father, into the ministry and, for over thirty years, was a Prebendary of St. Patrick's Cathedral, also serving in his father's succession as Rector of the United Parishes of Castleknock and Clonsilla in the Diocese of Dublin, and of Donaghpatrick in the Diocese of Meath. George died on 14 November 1842 aged sixty-four, and a memorial and bust were erected to his memory at Castleknock Church. According to the inscription, he was a loving and affectionate husband, a wise and tender parent, a tried and appreciated friend, surpassed by none.

Literature: WG Strickland, Dictionary of Irish Artists (Dublin and London, 1913) Volume 2, p. 343, as by Martin Archer Shee and painted in Dublin around 1786.
Price : $24,000
Artist : Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850)
Period: 18th century
Style: Georgian
Condition : Good, ready to hang condition

Material : Oil on canvas
Width : 64cm (25in)
Height : 76cm (30in)

Reference : 904
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