Rosamund Praeger

Rosamund Praeger (1867-1954)

Born in Holywood, County Down. Her Dutch father, Willem, came to Ireland to work in the family linen company and he married Marie Ferrar Patterson. Praeger was educated at Sullivan Upper School, the Belfast School of Art and the Slade in London, later also studying in Paris. In 1914, she built St Brigid's Studio on Hibernia Street in Holywood, where she worked until her death. The area has been redeveloped but the spot is marked by commemorative boards.

Her brother Robert Lloyd Praeger was a well-known naturalist and she provided botannical drawings for his books, as well as writing and illustrating children’s books herself. Praeger is best known for her work as a sculptor, particularly of children, and much of her work can be seen around the north, in the Carnegie Library, Falls Road; St Anne’s Cathedral and the Northern Bank. ‘Johnny the Jig’, a young boy playing the concertina, is a sculpture in Holywood and Holywood library holds works by both Praegers in its ‘Praeger room’.

Rosamund Praeger was one of the best known of the Irish sculptors to emerge in the late 19th century and she achieved considerable recognition in her lifetime. She received an Honorary Degree from Queen’s University in 1927, was awarded an MBE in 1939 and was elected President of the Royal Ulster Academy. Her work is included in the collections of the Ulster Museum and the National Gallery of Ireland.