Crawford Art Gallerypermanent collection

An Strachaire Fir
An Strachaire Fir
c.1823
Irish School
Bronze
42 x 47 x 31cm

466-S

Gibson Fund Acquisition 1924
An Strachaire Fir (The Strapping Man) is confidently modelled and shows a robust appreciation of the malleable qualities of clay. The artist's quick and decisive modelling of the clay has survived its translation into this marvellous bronze casting. Although only the head an shoulders of the sitter are represented, the suggestion of the full presence of the sitter is strong - the turning head suggests a turning body.

[PM]

Lit. - Pyle, 1975 / Leland, 1985



















Joseph Higgins
1885–1925

Irish School

Joseph Higgins was born in Ballincollig, near Cork, in 1885. His father William Higgins, a teacher and historian, had been jailed for his part in the Fenian Rising of 1867, and thereafter could only gain employment as a cooper in the Ballincollig Powder Mills. After the family moved to Cork around 1900, Joseph was employed by the tea firm of Newsome & Co, and also attended night classes at the Crawford School of Art. His talents as a sculptor were recognised quickly and he received several awards for his carved wooden and modelled clay sculptures.

His style of clay modelling may have been inspired by the work of Rodin, but as Higgins never travelled outside Ireland, he must have learned of Rodin's work mainly through art journals and books. Higgins worked as a teacher in Fermoy and Midleton before marrying Katherine Turnbull and settling in Youghal. He continued to teach, to paint and to sculpt, often using his children and family as models. Boy with a Boat, a bronze cast now in Fitzgerald's Park, Cork, was modelled on his nephew.

Among his well-known figures are Daniel Corkery (1909), Michael Collins (1922) and Prof W F P Stockley, his final work (1924), now in University College Cork. In 1924 he won the bronze medal for sculpture at the Tailteann Games. Higgins contracted tuberculosis and died in 1925, aged only thirty-nine. He had never received a commission and none of his works were cast during his lifetime.

[PM]

Lit. - Pyle, 1975 / Leland, 1985