Egan, James (DNB00)

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EGAN, JAMES (1799–1842), mezzotint engraver, of humble origin, was born in the county of Roscommon in Ireland in 1799. He was employed by S. W. Reynolds [q. v.], the well-known mezzotint engraver, at first as little more than an errand-boy, but later in laying his mezzotint grounds; it was thus that Egan first learnt his art. Gaining much experience in this, he set up a business of ground-laying for engravers, while he studied assiduously in order to become an engraver himself. Having neither money, friends, nor previous education as en artist, he was compelled to rely solely on his own industry and ability, and suffered many privations. Unfortunately, just as he was about to gain some substantial reward for his efforts, consumptive symptoms began to manifest themselves, and after eight years' struggle with declining health Egan died at Pentonville, 2 Oct,1842, aged 43. His best plate, and his last, executed under the most trying circumstances, was 'English Hospitality in the Olden Time,' after G. Cattermole. Among his other engravings were 'Love's Reverie,' after J. R. Herbert, R.A., 'Abbot Boniface,' after C. S. Newton, R. A., 'The Morning after the Wreck,' after C. Bentley, 'The Study,' after E. Stone, 'The Mourner,' after J. M. Moore, 'The Young Wife,' 'The Citation of Wycliffe,' 'The Tribunal of the Inquisition,' and other pictures after S. J. E. Jones, and a portrait of John Lodge, librarian at Cambridge, after Walmisley. Egan, who married young, left a family, for whom a subscription was raised by his friends.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Ottley's Dict. of Recent and Living Artists; Andresen's Handbuch fûr Kupferstichsämmler; Art Union, 1842, p. 256.]

L. C.