James MacArdell

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James MacArdell
James MacArdell.jpg
James MacArdell, 1771 mezzzotint by Richard Earlom after a self-portrait drawing.
Died(1765-06-02)2 June 1765
Known forMezzotint

James MacArdell (1729?–1765) was an Irish engraver of mezzotints.


He was born in Cow Lane (later Greek Street), Dublin, around 1729. He learnt mezzotint-engraving from John Brooks. When Brooks moved to London about 1746, MacArdell and other pupils followed. He opened a print shop at the Golden Head in Covent Garden, where in 1753 he published six views of Dublin. MacArdell died on 2 June 1765, in his fifty-seventh year, and was buried in the churchyard at Hampstead, where a stone bore an inscription to his memory.[1]


Portrait of the actress Hannah Pritchard, 1762 mezzotint by MacArdell after Francis Hayman.

His earliest work appears to be a head of Archbishop Hugh Boulter in an engraving, altered from one by Brooks of Bishop Robert Howard. A head of Dr. Birch is stated to have been done by MacArdell in London. A portrait of Bishop Thomas Secker, engraved by MacArdell, was published in London in 1767, and also a humorous plate, entitled 'Teague's Ramble.' In 1748 he engraved a portrait of John Cartwright, after S. Elmer, and a small portrait of Charles Bancks, a Swedish painter, for the Chevalier Descazeaux, an eccentric confined in the Fleet Prison, of whose portrait MacArdell made two etchings.[1]

In 1749, he engraved the picture of Lady Boyd, after Allan Ramsay, and the portrait by William Hogarth of Thomas Coram in 1750, the Duke of Dorset, after Kneller, and 'The Sons of the Duke of Buckingham,' after Anthony van Dyck. In 1754 he engraved his first plates after Sir Joshua Reynolds; these plates were the Earl and Countess of Kildare, companion plates, published in Dublin by Michael Ford, and Lady Charlotte Fitzwilliam, published by Reynolds himself. Subsequently, MacArdell engraved thirty-four more portraits by Reynolds[2] and twenty-five by Thomas Hudson.[3] He engraved fine portraits of George III, Queen Charlotte, and one of George II on horseback.

After Peter Paul Rubens MacArdell engraved 'The Family of Sir Balthasar Gerbier,' and 'Rubens with his Wife and Child,' from the picture once at Blenheim Palace; after Vandyck, 'Time clipping the Wings of Cupid,' 'The Finding of Moses,' and Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart; after Rembrandt, 'The Mathematician,'[clarification needed] 'Tobit and the Angel,' 'A Dutch Interior', and 'The Tribute Money.' MacArdell engraved numerous other portraits and subject pictures. Some were from his own drawings, such as those of Charles Blakes, an actor, as 'M. le Medecin,' and David Garrick as 'Peter Puff.'[1]


  1. ^ a b c Cust 1893.
  2. ^ Among them were portraits of the Rev. John Reynolds, Lady Elizabeth Montagu, Anne Day (afterwards Lady Fenhoulet), Miss Horneck, Admiral Boscawen, John, Earl of Rothes, Lady Anne Dawson, Horace Walpole and others.
  3. ^ Among them, Mary Panton, Duchess of Ancaster, Martin Folkes, and the Earl and Countess of Egmont.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCust, Lionel Henry (1893). "MacArdell, James" . In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 34. London: Smith, Elder & Co.