Sculptor John Smyth

John Smyth (c.1776 - 1840) was the son of the more renowned Edward Smyth (1749 - 1812), sculptor of the Riverine Gods on the Custom House.

John Smyth’s works include many portrait busts, church monuments and a great deal of architectural sculpture in Dublin and beyond. Amongst his more visible work in the city are the figures atop the pediment of the College of Surgeons, St Andrew’s Church, Westland Row and the GPO. The latter are copies of the originals presumably damaged in the 1916 conflict and now in storage. He assisted his father Edward with the sculpture at the Kings Inns, the Bank of Ireland, College Green and the profusion of decorative stone and plasterwork at the Castle Chapel inside and out.

The Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Richmond, laid the foundation stone for Richmond Bridge, (now O’Donovan Rossa Bridge and familiarly known as Winetavern St Bridge) on August 9th 1813 and it was opened to the public on St Patrick’s Day 1816. John Smyth was the sculptor of the six Portland stone keystone heads on the bridge, Plenty, Anna Livia and Industry are represented on the downstream side and Commerce, Hibernia and Peace face upstream. The flanking heads have been subjected to much weathering. Only the central heads retain something of their original aspect.


by Rita Larkin, Clontarf, Dublin
Published on 09th October 2013