Date: Sat 30th Apr
Venue: Tullycross Church
We regret that the talk Before the Famine- Rare Watercolours of Connemara has had to be cancelled because Anne Hodge is unable to travel due to a recent accident. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Before the Great Famine: Rare watercolours of Connemara
A talk on English watercolourist William Evans by Anne Hodge
In 2008 the National Gallery of Ireland acquired a collection of 41 watercolours of West of Ireland scenes by the English topographical artist William Evans (1798-1877) who taught at Eton, the English public school. Evans toured Galway and Mayo in August 1838 painting the landscape and people of Connemara. Apart from being beautiful images of an unspoilt landscape, the watercolours function as historical documents which us understand life in the West of Ireland in the early nineteenth century. They are rare images of pre-Famine Ireland which show evidence of booleying and other traditional agricultural practices. William Evans of Eton used his two sketching tours to Ireland (he also visited in 1835) and 1838 to gather material for large scale watercolour paintings which he exhibited major public exhibitions at the Royal Academy and Old Water Colour Society in London. While travelling around Connemara, he made drawings for Mrs S.C. Hall’s travelogue Ireland: its Scenery, Character &c (1843). This publication proved hugely popular with both actual and ‘armchair’ tourists of the day giving them a sense of an isolated and beautiful landscape on the fringe of Europe. Evans’s colourful watercolours help us understand the world of tourism in the Victorian era.
Anne Hodge is Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Ireland. Her research interests include the histories of collecting, printmaking in Ireland and eighteenth and nineteenth century landscape drawing and topography. She is currently working on a book exploring William Evans of Eton’s 1838 tour of Galway and Connemara.
Sponsored by Mary O’Keeffe in memory of Denis O’Keeffe