Biography

1907Born in Mallow, Co. Cork. Son of James Murphy, a railway employee, and Margaret Sheehan of Little Island, Co. Cork.
1912-1921Attended St. Patrick’s National School, St. Luke’s, Cork. Pupil of Daniel Corkery who gave him his first drawing lessons.
1921Enrolled as a part-time student at the Crawford School of Art, Emmet Place, Cork.
1922-1930Apprentice stone-carver at John Aloysius O’Connell’s Art Marble Works, Watercourse Road, Blackpool. Specialised in architectural and foliage carving. Attended Crawford by night.
1931Awarded the Gibson Bequest Scholarship Exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy exhibition.
1932-1933Studied at the Académie Colarossi and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Was befriended by the American-Irish sculptor Andrew O’Connor.
1934Opened a studio at Watercourse Road, Blackpool, Cork.
1935Group exhibition, University College, Cork.
1939Exhibited at World Fair, New York.
1943Exhibited ‘The Virgin of the Twilight’ at the Royal Hibernian Academy.
1944Elected associate of the RHA. Married in Youghal to Maighread Higgins, daughter of sculptor Joseph Higgins (1885-1925) and Katherine Turnbull.
1945Designed Blackpool Church for William Dwyer.
1950Published Stone Mad with illustrations by Fergus O’Ryan (Golden Eagle Press), an account of the work of the stone-carvers and stone-cutters with whom he had trained. Republished in a new edition 1966 by Routledge. Re-issued by The Blackstaff Press (Belfast) 1977 et seq; and by The Collins Press (Cork) 2005 et seq.
1954Elected a full member of the RHA.
1956Solo exhibition in Cork Public Library.
1964Appointed RHA Professor of Sculpture.
1967Joint exhibition with artist William Harrington.
1969Awarded Honorary LLD by the National University of Ireland.
1973Appointed to the Arts Council of Ireland. Exhibition in Adare, Co. Limerick.
1975Exhibited in ROSC, Cork.
1975Died in Cork. Buried in Rathcooney, Co. Cork.
2013‘Stone Mad’ selected as Cork’s Favourite Book 2013.