Purcell O'Gorman
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Purcell O'Gorman

"The Joker for Waterford", caricature of O'Gorman by "Ape" in Vanity Fair dated 13 March 1875

Purcell O'Gorman (1820 - 24 November 1888) was an Irish nationalist politician and Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected as a member of the Home Rule League to represent Waterford City. He was elected only once, in the 1874 United Kingdom general election, and served until 1880.


A scion of the landed gentry of Ireland,[1] O'Gorman was born in Kilkenny, the son of the successful barrister Nicholas Purcell O'Gorman QC,[2] who was the Secretary of Daniel O'Connell's Catholic Association.[3] He was educated at Clongowes, a Jesuit school, then at the age of sixteen matriculated at Trinity College, Dublin. There he graduated BA in law in 1840.[2] On 3 February 1843 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. On 9 December 1845 he transferred to the 90th Foot (Perthshire Volunteers) as a Lieutenant and was promoted Captain on 2 April 1852. He served in the Crimean War from 1854 to 1855, and on 17 August 1855 sold his commission.[4]

O'Gorman served as one of Waterford's two Home Rule League members of parliament from February 1874 until 1880.[4] In March 1875, barely a year after his election to the House of Commons, he was caricatured by "Ape" (Carlo Pellegrini) in the London Vanity Fair magazine as "The Joker for Waterford".[5][6]

O'Gorman died at Springfield, County Kilkenny, in November 1888.[4]

Private life

In 1853, O'Gorman married Sarah, a daughter of Thomas Mellor, of Ashton, Lancashire, and they had one son and two daughters.[1] They settled at Bellevue, in County Clare.[7] In 1860 their elder daughter, Frances Alice O'Gorman, married Captain E. J. Anderson, Royal Engineers. He was later a Brigadier-General.[8] In 1905 their younger daughter, Mary O'Gorman, became the second wife of Lt. Colonel Robert Thomas Carew, a former High Sheriff of County Waterford.[7]


  1. ^ a b Sir Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland (Harrison & sons, 1899), p. 344
  2. ^ a b Brendan Barrington, ed., The Dublin Review issues 10-13 (2003), p. 15
  3. ^ Nick Harding, Hanover and the British Empire, 1700-1837 (2007), p. 267
  4. ^ a b c 'O'GORMAN, Purcell', in Frederic Boase, ed., Modern English Biography: I-Q (1897), p. 1,887: "O'GORMAN, Purcell (2 son of the preceding). b. 1820; educ. Trin. coll. Dublin, B.A. 1840; 2 lieut. Ceylon regiment 3 Feb. 1843 ; lieut. 90 foot 9 Dec. 1845, captain 2 April 1852, sold out 17 Aug. 1855; served in Crimean war 1854-5; M.P. Waterford 1874-80. d. Springfield, co. Kilkenny 24 Nov 1888."
  5. ^ Ruth Pollard, Official Price Guide to Collector Prints, 1986 (Random House, 1986), p. 75
  6. ^ In Vanity Fair: Original Lithographs of Elegant & Ignominious Edwardians (Lyons Limited Antique Prints, 1999), p. 29
  7. ^ a b Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, ed., Burke's Irish Family Records (London: Burkes Peerage Ltd., 1976), p. 212
  8. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes (Kell's Directories, 1918), p. 90

External links

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