Not discouraged by the melancholy history of many gifted Irish artists, Ireland still produces men who are not unworthy of association with the best who have gone before. Our most recent losses have been heavy—notably those of Walter F. Osborne (1859-1903) and Patrick Vincent Duffy (1832-1909), but we still have artists of genius in the persons of Nathaniel Hone, a direct descendant of his famous namesake; John Butler Yeats; John Lavery, A.R.A.; and William Orpen, A.R.A. Many other names might be given, but already this attempt at a survey suffers by its enumeration of artists, who, however, could hardly be neglected in such a record.
Crowded as the list may be, it is a careful selection, and it demonstrates that, notwithstanding all the disadvantages under which Ireland suffers, the country has an almost unlimited capacity for fine achievement, and that, with prosperity and contentment, she may be expected to rival the most illustrious of art centres. It is only within living memory that any attempt has been made to direct the known artistic skill of the Irish people to industrial effort. But the remarkable success achieved in the modern designs for Irish lace in the English art competitions is an instance of what might be done generally in the applied arts. Though they are in their infancy, the new carpet and stained glass industries in Ireland also hold out considerable hope for the future. But one can only barely indicate what has been and might be done in the furtherance of Irish art. If we only had under one roof a judiciously made collection of all the best work done by Irish artists of all styles and periods, it would more eloquently justify our claim than endless columns of praise.
Anthony Pasquin [John Williams]: History of Professors
of Painting in
Ireland (1795); T.J. Mulvany: Life of James Gandon; John O’Keeffe:
Reminiscences, vol. I; Taft: American Sculpture; W.G. Strickland:
Dictionary of Irish Artists (2 vols., 1913).
By THOMAS E. HEALY,