Cooley, Thomas

Portrait painter
Born deaf near Dublin and attended the Braidwood Academy for the Deaf and Dumb in London 1803-1809. Studied art in the Royal Academy of Arts schools, then set up a studio in Dublin in 1810. Returned to London 1811 for more Royal Academy courses and hoping for more commissions. Finding little success, he returned to Dublin in 1814-1817 and London again 1817-1823, becoming more successful and producing many portraits of famous Irish persons of the time and of English military personnel. His father's 1823 death forced his return once again to Dublin. Appointed Associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1826 and official Portrait Painter to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Henry William Paget in 1828. Shuttled back to London in 1829, remaining there until 1846 and producing several dozen more portraits. Back once more to Dublin 1846 until apparent retirement from painting in either 1856 or 1858. Assisted his cousin as a framer 1858 until his death. In his late life, he was also involved with the Protestant deaf community and deaf organizations in Dublin. His grave was unmarked for over 100 years, until finally a special exhibition of his works raised enough funds to erect a simple headstone in 1975.
Deaf Lives, p.45-46.
1795-20 June 1872