That eminent firm’ – Irish sculptor Terence Farrell (1798-1876) and his six sons
by Professor Paula Murphy
Thomas Farrell (1827-1900) was born in Dublin into a family of sculptors. His father, Terence, and his five brothers all worked out of the same sculpture-yard, the resulting work often dominating the sculpture section of the annual Royal Hibernian Academy exhibitions. They were regarded as ‘a talented family’, with the father receiving commissions from the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland and Thomas emerging as the preeminent figure in Irish public sculpture in the second half of the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, there were occasions when it must have been difficult to tell which of the Farrell sons had executed a particular sculpture; instances when several of them are likely to have participated in the execution of a work; and certainly evidence of them competing against one another for public commissions. This talk will examine the Farrell family and its place in Irish sculpture in the nineteenth century.
Paula Murphy is an emeritus professor in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin. She has published widely on Irish sculpture, including Nineteenth-Century Irish Sculpture, Native Genius Reaffirmed (Yale, 2010) and Sculpture 1600-2000, vol. 3 in the 5-vol. Royal Irish Academy’s Art and Architecture of Ireland (Yale, 2014). She was a recipient of the RHA Gold Medal in 2015. In 2016/17 she held a Senior Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She has served on the Board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and was a member of the Steering Group of Dublin City Council’s Sculpture Dublin project (2020-22). She recently co-edited Art History at the Crossroads of Ireland and the United States (Routledge, 2022).