Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Designer and mural painter, for whom see Theo Snoddy, Dictionary of Irish Artists: 20th Century (2nd edition, 2002), 690-692. James Ward, the son of a house painter of the same name, was born in Belfast in 1851. His first experience of decorative mural painting was gained in London, where he assisted Sir Frederic Leighton with his frescoes in the Museum of Ornamental Art (as the Victoria and Albert Museum was then known). He had been head of the School of Art in Macclesfield, Cheshire, for almost twenty years when he was appointed headmaster of the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1907. In 1914, with the assistance of some of his pupils, he embarked on a series of mural paintings in the rotunda of the City Hall, Dublin. The twelve frescoes, consisting of eight scenes from the legendary and early history of Dublin and four heraldic panels representing the provinces of Ireland, were completed in 1918.(1) The Corporation awarded Ward an honorarium of £350 for the paintings, which he had undertaken as an unpaid labour of love in order to give his students experience of mural painting.(2) Ward retired first to England and then to his daughter's house in Southern Rhodesia, where he died in 1924.(3)



References

A portrait photograph of Ward is in IB 56, 28 Feb 1914, ?.

(1) For a description of the different subjects, see IB 61, 22 Mar 1919, 129. A photograph of the rotunda showing four of Ward's paintings is in Jacqueline O'Brien & Desmond Guinness, Dublin: a Grand Tour (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1994).150-151.
(2) IB 61, 22 Mar 1919, 126.
(3) IB 66, 24 Jun 1924, ?.


1 work entries listed in chronological order for WARD, JAMES [2]*


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CORK HILL, ROYAL EXCHANGE (CITY HALL)
Date: 1914-1911
Nature: 12 mural paintings comprising four heraldic panels representing the four provinces of Ireland and eight narrative panels depicting the legendary and early history of Dublin.
Refs: Freeman's Journal, 5 Jan 1915; IB 61, 22 Mar 1919, 125-6, 129. For photograph of the rotunda showing four of Ward's paintings see Jacqueline O'Brien & Desmond Guinness, Dublin: a Grand Tour (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1994).150-151;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 363.