Purcell, Richard (DNB00)

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PURCELL, RICHARD (fl. 1750–1766), engraver, was born in Dublin, and there studied mezzotint engraving under John Brooks and Andrew Miller. Between 1748 and 1755 he executed in Dublin a few plates, all now extremely rare, which include portraits of Michael Boyle, archbishop of Armagh, after Zoest: William King, archbishop of Dublin, after Jervas; Oliver Cromwell, after Lely; Samuel Madden, D.D., after Hunter; and three of William III, after Kneller and Wyck. In 1755 or 1756 Purcell settled in London. His abilities were sufficient to have enabled him to take a high position in his profession; but his vicious and extravagant habits kept him in poverty, and delivered him into the hands of Sayer, the printseller, for whom he worked almost exclusively. Sayer employed him chiefly to execute copies of popular prints by McArdell, Watson, Houston, Faber, &c., from pictures by Reynolds and others, and on many of these he used the aliases Charles Corbutt and Philip Corbutt. Purcell's original plates comprise portraits of the Rev. Thomas Jones, after M. Jenkin; John, earl of Bute, after A. Ramsay, 1763; and John Wilkes, after R. Pine, 1764; various subject-pieces after H. Morland, R. Pyle, G. Dou, G. Metsu, G. Schalken, Rembrandt, and others; and some caricatures. Purcell also etched a portrait of a man seated with a print in his hand, from a picture by Rembrandt, 1766; this is the latest date on any of his works, and is probably the year of his death.

[Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

F. M. O'D.