Monument to Robert Fitzgerald
The 19th Earl of Kildare (1675 - 1743)
by Henry Cheere.
Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin.
This remarkable, innovative and most theatrical monument was completed by 6 September 1746 when reported in London Evening Post - 'on Wednesday last the Right Honourable Earl of Kildare viewed the fine and curious monument made by Mr Cheere an eminent statuary, in Westminster to the memory of his father'
Robert Fitzgerald married Lady Mary daughter of William O'Brian 3rd Earl of Inchiquin 7 March, 1708.
The Monument depicts his grieving wife, and his two surviving children - his son James (20th Earl of Kildare d. 1773), soon to become the Duke of Leinster) and his daughter Margaretta.
James Fitzgerald married Emily Lennox (1731 - 1814) a famous beauty, one of the two daughters of the Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond and went on to build Leinster House, Dublin.
The monument depicts the laying out of the earl who feared being buried prematurely - he left instructions that 'my body be kept unburied for as many days after my decease as it can, without art or cutting open'
Town House on Suffolk Street, Dublin - the families country seat was Maynooth Castle (by the 1730's largely derelict) and latterly Carton House, Kildare built by German architect Richard Castle in 1739.
Originally put up on the North side of the choir, behind the Fitzgerald family box pew. now in the South Transept.
1714 - Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.
Photographs above taken by the author 5 October 2016.
Photograph Andreas F Borchert.
The plaque below the sculpture reads as follows:
To the Memory of ROBERT Earl of KILDARE The Nineteenth of that Title in Succeſsion, And in Rank the the firſt Earl of Ireland. He married the Lady MARIE Ô BRYEN Eldest Daughter of WILLIAM Earl of INCHIQUIN; By whom He had Iſue Four Sons, and Eight Daughters: of which Number Only JAMES the preſent Earl, and the Lady MARGARETTA Survived Him. Together with the Titles, He Inherited the Virtues of His Noble Anceſtors, And Adorned every Station He poſseſsed. Truth, Honour and Justice Directed the whole Course of His life. The Daily Devotions of His Family, And the Public Worſhip in the Church, Where by His Regular Attendance Cherished and Recommended. Tho poſseſsed of a great Estate, He managed it with particular Prudence and Oeconomy, In order to give a freer Courſe to His many & great Charities. He was a disinterested Lover, of His Country, Without any Affectation of Popularity: And was Beloved by all, not becauſe He ſought it But because He Deserved it. He was A most Tender, and Affectionate Husband, An Indulgent, and Prudent Father, A Sincere, and Steady Friend. His Disconsolate Relict In Teſtimony of Her Gratitude, and Affection. And the better to Recommend to His Deſsendants The Imitation of His Excellent Example Caused this Monument to be Erected. He Died the 20 Day of February. A.D. 1743, in the 69th Year of His Age.
19th Earl of Kildare
image unknown source
See The Silent Rhetoric of the Body, Matthew Craske, pub. Yale 2007 p.340.
James Earl of Kildare
after Joshua Reynolds
Mezzotint by James McArdell
352 x 250 mm.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.
Emily wife of the James Duke of Leinster
After Joshua Reynolds.
Mezzotint by James McArdell.
351 x 250 mm.