Irish Fine Art in the Early Modern Period: New Perspectives on Artistic Practice, 1620–1820


Eds. Jane Fenlon, Ruth Kenny, Caroline Pegum, Brendan Rooney (Eds)

September 2016

Irish Fine Art in the Early Modern Period presents the finest contemporary research on Irish fine art from the 17th and 18th centuries. The contributors, both established and emergent Irish art historians, approach the production and reception of fine art in this period with substantial new work on a wide range of fascinating themes.

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This richly illustrated book presents the latest research into Irish fine art from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is comprised of a rich selection of case studies into artistic practice that showcase the burgeoning nature of fine art media in Ireland, the quality of production, and the breadth of patronage. Investigating these signifiers of a ‘cultured’ lifestyle – their production, consumption, appreciation, display, and discourse – provides fascinating insights into the sensibility of Ireland’s minority-rule elites, and the practitioners it fostered.

Featuring contributions from emergent and established art historians, Irish Fine Art in the Early Modern Period takes its subject matter beyond the realms of academic journals, exhibitions and conferences, and presents it within a lavishly designed and vital publication that presents substantial new insights into Ireland’s artistic and social history.

Table of Contents

  1. ‘Parliament as Theatre: Francis Wheatley’s The Irish House of Commons Revisited’, Fintan Cullen.
  2. ‘Theft, Concealment and Exposure: Nathaniel Hone’s The Spartan Boy’, William Laffan.
  3. ‘Commerce, Conquest and Change: Thomas Hickey’s John Mowbray, Calcutta Merchant, attended by a Banian and a Messenger’, Siobhan McDermott.
  4. ‘Artistic connections between Dublin and London in the early-Georgian period: James Latham and Joseph Highmore’, Jacqueline Riding.
  5. ‘The “Strange and Unaccountable” John Van Nost: The Making of a Sculptural Career in Eighteenth-Century Ireland’, M.G. Sullivan.
  6. ‘An Irish Teniers? The Development of Paintings of Everyday Life in Ireland, c.1780–c.1810’, Mary Jane Boland.
  7. ‘The Portrait Collection in the Great Hall of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin’, Jane Fenlon.
  8. ‘The Contribution of Foreign Artists to Cultural Life in Eighteenth-Century Dublin’, Nicola Figgis.
  9. ‘Visualising the Privileged Status of Motherhood: The Commemoration of Women in Irish Funerary Monuments, c.1600-c.1650’, Elaine Hoysted.

About the Editors

Dr Jane Fenlon is the author/editor of several books and essays on the subject of seventeenth century Irish Art and Architecture, including The Ormonde Picture Collection and Clanricard’s Castle (2012). Her most recent work includes essays in Art and Architecture in Ireland, Vol. II (2014)  and in the forthcoming Cambridge History of Ireland, Vol. II ( 2017).

Ruth Kenny is a freelance curator and art historian; she is currently curator of an exhibition on the Society of Artists for the Irish Georgian Society, and teaches at the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin.

Caroline Pegum is an historian of British and Irish art in the late Stuart period, and is currently researching a catalogue raisonné of the Irish-born portraitist Charles Jervas (1669–1739) for publication by the Walpole Society.

Dr Brendan Rooney is Curator of Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and author/editor of numerous works on Irish art, including Thomas Roberts: Landscape and Patronage in Eighteenth-century Ireland (2009) and Creating History. Stories of Ireland in Art (2016).