Sculptor in stone who likened his patient craft to prayer

DICK JOYNT: The artist Dick Joynt, who has died aged 64, was renowned for his work in stone

DICK JOYNT: The artist Dick Joynt, who has died aged 64, was renowned for his work in stone. One of his best-known sculptures is The Ram, located just off the Dublin-Wexford road near Bray, Co. Wicklow. Weighing over 30 tons, it is nine feet in height and 13 feet in length, and is one of the largest works of its kind in Ireland.

His sculpture, The Victors, can be seen in the centre of Tallaght village, Co Dublin. It depicts four adults holding children aloft and symbolises the strength and unity of the family. Another well-known work, The Music Makers, stands at Kenmare Bay, Co. Kerry.

He was born on October 28th, 1938, one of the four children of Edward and Ellen Joynt, Clontarf, Dublin. He was educated at St Paul's College, Raheny, where he captained the school rugby team during the 1955-56 season.

On completing his formal education, he emigrated to the United States and worked as a merchant seaman and as a salesman. He also sailed the Caribbean, working as a crewmember on yachts. He returned to Ireland in the early 1960s and, following his marriage to Natalie Connolly, settled in Kinsale, Co Cork. There he taught himself to paint. In 1966 he and his family moved to the Iveragh Peninsula and lived in Kells, Cahirciveen, Co Kerry.


A year later the family moved to Dublin. He began working in 1972 at the Dublin Art Foundry, which was run by John Behan. Taking time off from painting, he began to explore the possibilities of sculpture, modelling in clay and casting small pieces in the foundry. He spent 10 years at the foundry, devoting all his spare time to carving in stone and wood.

He developed his own distinctive style and in the 1970s he began to show his work in the Independent Artists, Oireachtas and Royal Hibernian Academy exhibitions. His first solo exhibition was held in the Lincoln Gallery, Dublin, in 1979 and he later exhibited at the Hendriks Gallery and in galleries throughout the country.

In 1990 he bought a small farm at Bree, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, converting one of the outbuildings into a sculpture studio suitable for large-scale work. Print-making was another interest and he established a print workshop, installing an etching press of his own design.

The first major piece of work completed at Craan Studios, named after the townland in which the farm is located, was a bronze bust of Michael Collins which is now in Merrion Square, Dublin.

He cultivated a small fruit and vegetable garden of which he was very proud, generously sharing the fruits of his labour with friends. A keen photographer, he fitted out a darkroom to pursue his hobby.

Dick Joynt enjoyed the challenge of transforming a block of stone, slowly chipping away to release his vision. He made little use of power tools, preferring the steady rhythm of hammer and chisel which he likened to prayer and which was as important to him as the finished work.

He was awarded the Oireachtas Gold Medal for sculpture in 1982 and subsequently won the Claremorris Open Sculpture Prize. His work is included in corporate, public and private collections, and he secured many public commissions. In 1998 Craan Studios hosted a sculpture workshop attended by a group of young Zimbabwean sculptors. At the time of his death, Dick Joynt was working with his assistant, Pádraig McGowan, on a monumental granite horse, which will be completed later this year and sited at Ballsbridge, Dublin.

He is survived by his daughters, Julie and Rachel, and their mother, Natalie.