John Comerford, sitter book

Scope and Content

Sitters book of John Comerford covering the dates 1810 to 1828. The volume gives details of sitters, along with the date of sittings and the amount they were charged; when paintings were copies this is indicated. Some details of Comerford's travels are recorded in the volume, for example between April and October 1819 it is noted that he spent four months in London and Paris. It also gives details of pictures which had been delivered but not paid for. A note by George Scharf concerning a drawing by Comerford of Sir Jonah Barrington has been inserted at the front of the volume, it is assumed this was done shortly after the acquisition of the volume in 1868.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Comerford (c. 1770-1832), miniature painter, was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. His first knowledge of painting was gained by copying pictures in Kilkenny Castle, which at that time had one of the best portrait collections in Ireland. He was educated at the Dublin Society's drawing schools where he was awarded a certificate and a silver medal for his ability.

In 1797 he advertised in the Leinster Journal for 'Likenesses in Oils and Miniature', he met George Chinnery in 1799 and encouraged by him he solely concentrated on miniature painting for the rest of his career. He first exhibited at the Society of Artists of Ireland exhibition in 1800 where he was reviewed positively in the Dublin Evening Post.

He regularly exhibited at the Society of Artists of Ireland as well as at the Irish Society of Artists. In 1811 he was elected to the committee of the Irish Society of Artists and became its vice-president. He exhibited three portraits at the Royal Academy in London in 1804 and 1809.

Comerford died on 23 January 1832 reportedly leaving £16,000.

This biographical description is largely based on P. Caffrey, 'Comerford, John (c. 1770-1832)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 30 Jan 2017]

Access Information

Available to view by appointment in the Heinz Archive and Library Public Study Room, to make an appointment contact Archive Reception . Although records are generally available for public consultation, some information in them, such as personal data or information supplied to the Gallery in confidence, may be restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Personal photography is permitted for research purposes only. Photocopying is not permitted.