Egan, John

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Dates Active in Dublin: 

1804–after 1841


25 Dawson Street, c. 1804–20
21 Aungier Street, c. 1820–21 [as Egan, Read & Taylor]
30 Dawson Street, c. 1821–35
21 Aungier Street, c. 1836 [as Egan, Read & Co.]
26 Dawson Street, c. 1838
57 Bride Street, c. 1838
44 Dawson Street, c. 1840–41


Egan's chief contribution was the 'Royal Portable' Irish harp, usually decorated with shamrocks, which combined elements of the Irish harp with hand operated ditals influenced by Erard's recently developed pedal harp.

He is listed in the Dublin Directories as 'Pedal-harp and Portable-harp-maker to His Majesty the King', and 'Harp-maker to His Majesty'.

The Lord Edward Fitzgerald ivory uilleann pipes in the National Museum of Ireland, made in 1768 and stamped Egan, are attributed by the museum to John Egan’s father. Carolan (2017) states that the pipemaker is not the son of John Egan.

Succeeded in business by his nephew Francis Hewson on his death.

[Dates and address differ according to sources: the Dublin Directories give the dates as 25 Dawson Street from 1804 to 1806, 1811 to 1812, 1815 to 1816 and 1820; 30 Dawson Street in 1821, 1823 to 1825, 1830 to 1833 and 1835; and 26 Dawson Street and 57 Bride Street in 1838 (with Egan, Read & Taylor at 21 Aungier Street in 1821 and Egan, Read & Co. at that address in 1836). Teahan gives 25 Dawson Street from 1804 to 1810 and 1820; 30 Dawson Street in 1821, 1830 to 1821 and 1833 to 1835; 23 Dawson Street in 1832; 57 Bride Street and 26 Dawson Street in 1838; and 44 Dawson Street in 1841 (with Egan, Read & Taylor at 21 Aungier Street c. 1820). Hogan gives 30 Dawson Street from c. 1815 to 1824 only. Note: Boydell (Card Index) states that Egan, Read & Co. were at 44 Dawson Street from 1840 to 1841, but the Dublin Directories give other businesses at this address in 1841 and in 1842.]

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  • Harps (13): National Museum of Ireland (Gogan)
  • Dital harp: Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  • Double action pedal harp, c. 1821–35: sold by Sotheby's on 12 December 1986. Signed: 'John Egan, 30 Dawson Street, Dublin. Maker by Special Appointment to His Most Gracious Majesty George IV and to her Royal Highness the Princess Agusta'
  • Last Update: 16-03-2018