Rosamund Praeger
Biography of Irish Sculptor & Illustrator From County Down

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Rosamund Praeger (1867-1954)

Sophia Rosamund Praeger was an Irish illustrator and sculptor and one of the first talents of Irish sculpture to emerge in the late 19th century. She is best known for her bronze and stone works, including Johnny The Jig (Holywood), Fionnuala Daughter of Lir (Causeway School, Bushmills), The Philosopher (Colorado Springs Museum and Art Gallery) and the Fairy Fountain.

Praeger was born in Holywood, County Down in 1867, daughter of a Dutch emigrant who worked in the Belfast linen trade. Her brother was the naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger. She studied at the Belfast School of Art and The Slade School of Fine Art in London. When she qualified in London, she returned to Holywood and opened her own studio in 1914 on Hibernia Street where she worked until her death in 1954.

For more facts, see: Plastic Art.
For more about arts in Ireland
see: Irish Art Questions.

For a guide to the chronology
and evolution of 3-D art,
see: Sculpture History.

For a list of the world's best ever
stone/wood carvers and bronze
artists, see: Greatest Sculptors.

Although she illustrated children's books, such as A Visit to Babyland (1896), Further Doings Of the Three Bold Babes (1898), How They Went To School (1903), How They Came Home From School (1911), Billy's Garden Plot (1918), and The Fearful Land Of Forgets (1921), she became better known for her popular sculpture including: 'The Philosopher'(1913), a sculpture of a baby, first exhibited at the Royal Academy but subsequently bought by an American collector and now on display in the Colorado Springs Museum, and 'Johnny The Jig' - a bronze sculpture of a young boy playing the concertina, now situated at the entrance of a play area in Holywood.

She worked mainly in plaster, but also used marble, bronze, terracotta and stone. She created sculptures, panels, memorial plaques and stones. Other important works include the 'The Waif', 'These Little Ones', 'Daughter of Lir' and 'The Fairy Fountain'. She also modelled figures for the Northern Bank, the Carnegie Library, Falls Road and St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast.

Sculpture Appreciation: Northern Ireland
To learn how to evaluate modern Irish sculptors like Praeger, see: How to Appreciate Modern Sculpture. For earlier works, please see: How to Appreciate Sculpture.


Praeger received many honors for her work when she was alive. She was elected President of the Royal Ulster Academy, received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University in 1927, and was awarded an MBE in 1939. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Ulster Museum and the National Gallery of Ireland as well as numerous private collections around the world. When she died in 1954, Praeger left behind a large volume of works in sculpture, medal design, graphic designs for books and magazines, poetry and prose.

The Best Plastic Art
For the most important works, see: Greatest Sculptures Ever.

Further Information

For classical works, see Greek Sculpture. For more about Irish sculptors, see: John Hogan (Waterford), John Henry Foley (Dublin), Oliver Sheppard (Tyrone), Albert Power (Dublin), Seamus Murphy (Cork), FE McWilliam (County Down), Alexandra Wejchert (Crackow and Limerick), Conor Fallon (Dublin), Oisin Kelly (Dublin), Eamonn O'Doherty (Derry), Edward Delaney (Dublin/Connemara) and Rowan Gillespie (Dublin).

• For more facts about sculptors and contemporary sculpture in Ireland, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For details of wood sculpture, see: Wood Carving.
• For information about ceramics sculpture, see: Ceramic Art.
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