Kean, Michael (DNB00)

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KEAN, MICHAEL (d. 1823), miniature-painter and proprietor of the Derby china factory, was a native of Dublin, where he was a student in the academy, and gained the medal of the Society of Arts in 1779. He was originally intended for a sculptor, and was apprenticed to Edward Smith, a sculptor in Dublin, but he subsequently took to practising as a miniature-painter, and sometimes drew portraits in crayons. He came to London, where he practised with great success. He was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1780 and 1790. Four miniatures by him, including portraits of Lunardi the aeronaut and Colonel St. Leger, were in the Exhibition of Miniatures at South Kensington in 1865. Kean was taken into partnership by William Duesbury the younger [see under Duesbury, William], proprietor of the Derby china factory, and on Duesbury's death in 1796 married his widow. He helped to increase the reputation of the factory by his artistic skill, and is credited with having introduced a biscuit body of peculiar excellence. In 1811 Kean disposed of the factory to Robert Bloor, and retired to London, where he died in November 1823. He was a hot-tempered man, and was for many years separated from his wife. He left a son, who became a captain in the navy. Kean was captain of the sixth company of the old Derby volunteers.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Haslem's Old Derby China Factory; Pasquin's Artists of Ireland.]

L. C.