Clann Chaomhánach
Information on Clann ChaomhánachArticles and family related news Family related questions and mysteriesFeatured family membersEvent listingsFamily around the worldPurchase Clann merchandise...

Joseph Malachy Kavanagh (1856-1918)


Joseph was a student at the Metroplitan School of Art from 1887 to 1888. His career is closely associated with the more well known Walter Osborne. Both travelled to Antwerp in 1881 to take the "Nature" class  under Verlat and shared lodgings. A third artist, Nathaniel Hill,  accompanied them. They returned for the winter of 1882-83 to take the Life class.

Joseph painted numerous studies of local views of Antwerp and the surrounding countryside as well as studies of Brittany in France. Among the Irish studying in Antwerp Jospeh seems to have been the one most interested in etching. He produced numerous etchings and exhibited them over the course of the next four years.

On his return to Ireland Joseph settled down in Clontarf and focused his attentions on capturing the local views of Dublin and it's outlying areas. He produced studies of Dublin Bay, Sutton, Portmarnock and North Bull.


Joseph Malachy Kavanagh - Cockle Pickers (1893)
Cockle Pickers (1893)

Joseph Malachy Kavanagh - The Salt Marsh
The Salt Marsh

Although he was a prolific painter Joseph's work is relatively rare. As Keeper of the RHA, he was a resident in their premises on Abbey Street when the buildings, including his studio and paintings, were destroyed by fire. The only surviving works are being those which had left his possession before the fire. Kavanagh was lucky to escape with his life from the burning building but he never fully recovered from the tragedy.


With thanks to Clayton Kau