Authorised form of nameKirwan; Richard (1733 - 1812)
Dates1733 - 1812
Place of birthCloughballymore, County Galway, Ireland
Date of birth1733
Place of deathDublin, Ireland
Date of death01 June 1812
Dates and placesBurial:
St George's Church, Lower Temple Street, Dublin, Ireland
Research fieldChemistry
Entered Jesuit novitiate, St Omer (1754) but left and returned to Ireland when his brother, Patrick, was killed in a duel and he inherited the family estates (1755); renounced Catholic beliefs in order to be able to be called to the Irish bar (1766); stopped practising law and took up science (1768); lived in London (c1769-1772, 1777-1787); well acquainted with Priestley, Horne Tooke, Henry Cavendish, Edmund Burke; correspondent of Bergman, Scheele, Chaptal, Klaproth and Lavoisier; his 'Elements of Mineralogy' (1784) was the first systematic work on the subject in English; best known work was 'An Essay on Phlogiston and the Constitution of Acids' (1787); awarded Gold Medal Royal Dublin Society for services in acquiring and arranging the Leskean cabinet of minerals (1794); honorary member of the Academies of Stockholm, Uppsala, Berlin, Dijon, Philadephia, the Mineralogical Society of Jena
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election24/02/1780
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Copley Medal 1782
RelationshipsSecond son of Martin Kirwan of Cregg Castle; married (1757) Anne Blake (died 1765) daughter of Sir Thomas Blake of Menlough Castle
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Irish Innovators
W A Smeaton, 'Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau, FRS (1737-1816) and his Relations with British Scientists' in NR 1967 vol 22 pp 113-130
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA5306
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
CB/2/231Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Richard Kirwan28 April 1789
CB/2/548Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Richard Kirwan25 July 1791
CB/2/553Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Richard Lewis23 August 1791
CB/1/1/217Letter from [Berthollet] to Charles Blagden[1785]
CB/1/1/215Letter from Claude Louis Berthollet, Paris to Charles Blagden6 September 1784
CB/2/325Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Richard Kirwan20 March 1790
CB/2/517Copy of a letter from Charles Blagden to Richard Kirwan16 April 1791
CB/1/4/197Letter from R Kirwan, Dublin to Charles Blagden, Royal Society, Somerset House, London27 September 1803
L&P/8/64Paper, 'Answer to Mr Cavendish's reply' by Richard Kirwan1784
L&P/8/166Letter, 'On the affinities of substances in spirits of wine' from John Elliot to Richard Kirwan31 October 1785
L&P/9/25Letter, 'On the blue colour of the sky' from John Elliot to Richard Kirwan15 December 1786
L&P/8/164Paper, 'Experiments on hepatic air' by Richard Kirwan24 November 1785
L&P/7/174Paper, 'Experiments and observations on specific gravities and on the attractive power of various saline substances' by Richard Kirwan1780
L&P/8/187Letter, 'On the air expelled from earths' from Arthur Young to Richard Kirwan18 December 1785
L&P/8/131Paper, 'Specific gravities taken at different degrees of heat' by Richard Kirwan1785
L&P/10/64Paper, 'On the origin of basaltes' by Richard Kirwan1793
EC/1779/25Kirwan, Richard: certificate of election to the Royal Society
L&P/7/248Paper, 'Continuation of experiments and observations on specific gravities' by Richard Kirwan1782
AP/5/23Unpublished letter, regarding the medicinal powers of music from Thom [Thomas] Peirce to Mr [Richard] Kirwan6 March 1787
L&P/8/4Paper, 'Of the attractive powers of the mineral acids' by Richard Kirwan1782
L&P/8/56Letter, 'Remarks on Henry Cavendish's experiments on air' from Richard Kirwan to Joseph Banks29 January 1784
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