Irish Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions

Figure 1.--.

We have not yet begun to assess Irish artists in any detail We have some information on a few Irish artists. The artists we have found are noticeable for the lack of Irish nationlism expressed in their work. We notice Adam Buck (1758-1833) who was noted for his minatures. We also notice Frederick Buck (1771-c. 1839) who painted some beautiful minature portraits. We assume that they were brothers, but are researching this now. One noticeable Irih srtist is Richard Thomas Moynan (1856-1906). His paintings depicting Irish recruits in the British Army suggest an Ireland fully integrated in the United Kingdom. Here we are not sure if this is the way the artists felt or if they had to paint that way to be successful professionally.

Individual Artists

We have not yet begun to assess Irish artists to any extent. We have some information on a few Irish artists. There is a major problem with Irish art. All of Ireland until the 1920s was part of the United Kingdom. As a result, Irish artists did not necessarily work in Ireland. There was always the lure of working more prosperous England.

Michael George Brennan (1839-71)

Michael George Brennan was born on September 28, 1839 in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. His father operated a hardware store. He was educated at Castlebar. And while still a youth tought himself shiorthand and earned money selling reports to newspapers, includung a Dublin paper. He had inate artistic skills before any training. He began to acquire a reputation as a cracturist at school and in Castlebar. Some local personages took an interest in the boy. They sent hom to Dublin at the age of 15 years to study at Dubkin Society's School in the Royal Hibernian Academy. He then went to London and entered the Royal Academny's School. He earned money by submitting drawings to Fun. a Punch rival, but quit as a staunch Iriush Cathokic when ordered to caricature the Pope. It is at this time he contarcted typhoid. He went home, but was advised to move to a warmer climate. He chose Italy and settled in Rome. He spent much of the rest of his life in Italy. As a result, although Irish born and educated. He few works he painted in his sdhirt life were Italian, not Irish images.

Adam Buck (1758-1833)

This Irish watercolorist was known as a portraist. He sometimes added chalk work to his watercolors. He also did pastel drawings. All of his paintings I have seen were portraits. He did some minatures and had a great reputation as a miniaturist. Hence there is painstaking details in his paintings. While he was an Irish artist, his pictures were not necessarily painted in Ireland. A lot of Buck's paintings that I have been able to find date from the 1790s.

Frederick Buck (1771c. 1839)

We know that Frederick Buck (1771-c. 1839) was an important Irish portrait painter. We have noted large numbers of his minitures. We know, however, very little about him. Presumably he is related to Adam Buck. This portrait miniature in watercolor on ivory of a young boy, circa 1800. The portrait is clearly done by a very accomplished portratist. The minature bears a strong similarity to the best work of Irish painter, Frederick Buck, especially portrait #100 in Paul Caffrey s book John Comerford and the Portrait Miniature in Ireland which depicts another young boy. This boy wears a dark blue jacket with gold buttons and frilly collar; his long blond hair frames his heart-shaped face. He has lovely blue eyes!

Trevor Flower (1830s-40s)

A reader has mentioned Trevor Flower to us, an Irish artist active in the early-mid-19th century. We have been unable to find much information on him. We do note genre work showing scenes of the Irish country side. One especially interesting work shows a group of children dancing at a crossroads somewhere in Ireland. It is useful 19th century evidence of Irish step dancing. Interestingly it shows some use of the arms which is not permitted in modern Irish dance. The children are not wearing costumes, but their normal clothing.

George William Joy (1844-1925

George William Joy was born in Dublin (1844). While born in Ireland, he identified himself as British and and thought Ireland should be part of Britain. He pursued his career mostly in Englnd. His father was William Bruce Joy, MD. His brother was sculptor Albert Bruce-Joy. They were descendents of an old Huguenot family which had settled in Antrim (1612). His Protestant Huguenot background explains his British, rather than Irsh outlook. His father initilly intended a military carrer for George who had an aristic and musical bent. He showed some promise as a violinist. A foot injury in an age where soldiers moved by marching meant that a military career was out. Joy was then educated at Harrow School, one of England's great public (elite private boarding) schools. He then turned to art. He studied in London's South Kensington School of Art and later at the Royal Academy under John Everett Millais, Frederic Leighton and George Frederic Watts A fellow students was Hubert von Herkomer. Joy then went to Paris where for 2 years he was a student of Charles-François Jalabert and Léon Bonnat (1868). He met important artists like Gérôme, Cabanel, Jules Breton, Jules Lefebvre und Philippe Rousseau. When he returned to London and soon established himself as an important history and genre painter. He sometines painted religious impages, but primarily Joy is know for his historical images which were ardently pro-British, such as his painting, 'The Kings drums'.

Richard Thomas Moynan (1856-1906)

Irish nationalists were frustrated in the late 19th century as to the degree Ireland had been integrated into the United Kingdom. A good representation of this is the work of Irih artist Richard Thomas Moynan. We do not know a great deal about him at this time. He was born in Dublin during 1856 abd entered the Metropolitan School in 1883. Moyan was a contemporary of Roderic O'Conor. Both He and O'Conor entered the Academy in Antwerp (October 1883). They were taught by Verlat. Moyan studied at the Academy 2 years until 1885. He then moved to Paris, returning to Dublin during the late 1880s. [Kennedy] We note paintings showing Irish men who had joined the British army returning home (figure 1). Irish boys are show as admiring these Anglo-Irish soldiers. We are not familiar with his full range of work, but the paintings we don note do not show any hint of Irish nationalism oranti-British feeling. He used French titles when exhibited his work. General Gordon's Last Stand . Joy's portrayal of Gordon's death Flora MacDonald's farewell to Prince Charlie

William Newenham Montague Orpen, (1878-1931)

Major Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen (1878-1931). Orpen was an Irish painter who was trained at the Metropolitan School and at the Slade School in London where, at the time, great emphasis was placed on a study of old masters. One of his best known portraits is the portrait of "Master Spottiswoode", a 12-year old from a distinguished English family. Note the brown tunic suit with knee trousers and, interestingly, red long stockings. Orpen became the official painter of World War I in 1917 and was made a Knight of the British Empire for his services. Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom was involved in World War I. He travelled to the front and sketched and painted many of the horrors that he saw there--trench warfare with its corpses and bloodshed and massive destruction. Later Orpen became a member of the Royal Academy of Art.

Irish Nationalism

The artists we have found are noticeable for the lack of Irish nationlism expressed in their work. Here not just artists were involved. Irish nationalists were constantly frustrated during the 19th century by the lack of nationalist feeling in Ireland. Here we are not sure if this is the way the artists felt or if they had to paint that way to be successful professionally. Moynan's work, for example, depicts Irish recruits in the British Army suggesting an Ireland fully integrated in the United Kingdom. Of course we still have very limited information on Irish artists.

Mural Art

A HBC reader suggests mentioning Belfast mural art. There are hundreds of these - both loyalist and republican. Some are overtly political,some show history (there's many loyalist ones showing King Billy on his famous white horse at The Battle of the Boyne). There are murals in support of the hunger strikers in the 1980s. Often children are depictefd. Here you can often tell the loyalties independentb ofvthe political message. Boys or girls wearing the green and white hooped jersey of Glasgow Celtic are republican. Most protestants in Belfast follow the other team - Glasgow Rangers. (Glagow of course is in Scotland, but there is a large Irish community in Glasgow.) These historical murals are now a tourist attraction! A firm runs coach tours around Belfast to view them. I don't know if the artists get any payment though!.Some of them are very well painted - some ,not surprisingly,have been defaced with graffiti or are just weathering.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing artistic pages:
[Return to the Main artistic page]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Irish page]
[Introduction] [Activities][Biographies][Chronology] [Clothing styles][Countries]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 4:34 PM 7/21/2004
Last updated: 5:12 PM 10/1/2019