Thomas Crofton Croker (1798 - 1854)

Daniel Maclise, 'Portrait of Thomas Crofton Croker' taken from William Bates, 'The Maclise Portrait Gallery of Illustrious Literary Characters with Memoirs', 1883

Daniel Maclise (1806-1870)

Portrait of Thomas Crofton Croker from The Maclise portrait gallery of illustrious literary characters with memoirs by William Bates

London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, 1883

Cork-born Thomas Crofton Croker was an antiquarian and folklorist who wrote Researches in the South of Ireland (1824) and Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland (1825). The latter landmark publication was the first time Irish or British oral folk tales had been recorded in writing.

While Crofton Croker lived mostly in London, Maclise was introduced to his writings at a young age by Richard Sainthill. Sainthill encouraged Maclise to produce illustrations of Crofton Croker’s Fairy Legends before passing them on to the author; Crofton Croker was so pleased with them that he included them in the second edition of his book.

Crofton Croker was an invaluable contact for Maclise when he arrived in London in 1826. He encouraged Maclise’s interest in antiquarian studies and also found many portrait commissions for the young artist. Along with Maclise, he was a member of the Fraserian Circle, a group of writers who contributed to the satirical journal Fraser’s Magazine which was edited by Cork-born William Maginn.

Crofton Croker was elected to the RIA in 1827, and in the same year became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He died 8 August 1854 at his home in London.