Owen Swiny

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Owen Swiny (various spellings, including Owen McSwiny and Owen Mac Swiny, born 1676, near Enniscorthy, Ireland — died 2 October 1754) was an Irish-born playwright, theatre manager, and art dealer, who spent much of his life in London but with a twenty-year debt-driven exile in France and Italy.


  • The fellow is whimsical and varys his prices every day; and he that has a mind to have any of his works must not seem too fond of it, for he' be ye worse treated for it both in price and painting too.
    • quoted by George A. Simonson in (January 1922)"Antonio Canal". The Burlington Magazine 40 (226): 36–41. (quote from pp. 39–40, taken from a letter by Owen Swiny to the 2nd Duke of Richmond, concerning Canaletto)

Quotes about Swiny[edit]

Talking of the great difficulty of obtaining authentick information for biography, Johnson told us, 'When I was a young fellow I wanted to write the Life of Dryden, and in order to get materials, I applied to the only two persons then alive who had seen him ; these were old Swinney, and old Cibber. Swinney's information was no more than this, "That at Will's coffee-house Dryden had a particular chair for himself, which was set by the fire in winter, and was then called his winter-chair ; and that it was carried out for him to the balcony in summer, and was then called his summer-chair." ...'

External links[edit]

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