Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas Kirk, Sculptor: 1781-1845

Cork born, Thomas Kirk was a noted Irish sculptor. He studied at the Dublin Society's School of Art where he won prizes in 1797 and 1800. Kirk was acclaimed for his fine relief work on mantle-pieces and monuments. Some of his work may be seen in the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal Dublin Society, and the library of Trinity College, Dublin. He was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, established in 1823.

Thomas Kirk sculpted numerous church memorials throughout Ireland often using his favourite relief, the Good Samaritan, which was thought to be well suited for memorials to doctors and clergymen. Kirk's earliest, and perhaps best known, commission was the statue of Lord Nelson which he created in 1809 for a monument in O’Connell Street Dublin which would be known as Nelson's Pillar. Throughout its life 'The Pillar' was always a controversial work of art. Some, such as William Butler Yeats, saw it as aesthetically unpleasing, others as simply an impediment to O'Connell Street traffic. The matter was brought to an explosive end in 1966 when the statue and the upper part of the Pillar was destroyed by a bomb planted by members of the I.R.A..

On 19 April 1845 Thomas Kirk died in Dublin; he is interred in this tomb on the right hand side of the main roadway into Mount Jerome Cemetery.

*Click on photographs to view larger version.
All Photographs ©Copyright J.Geraghty-Gorman 2011.
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