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Title: Jerpoint Abbey

Title of artwork:
Jerpoint Abbey
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Wood engraving
Commissioners of National Education Ireland
Title of Publication:
Sixth reading book for the use of schools
Alexander Thom
Publication place:
Publication date:
Curator Comment:
The Commissioners of National Education were established in 1831 to oversee the education of the poor in Ireland. The Commissioners issued illustrated primers for use in teaching children to read, introducing the subjects of English literature, English and Irish History and politics. Pedagogical theory of the period recognised the importance of combining text and image to stimulate learning.
Note on artwork:
The illustration of this book was assigned chiefly to the artist-engraver Charles Malcolm Grey, a member of a highly-regarded Dublin family of artists and engravers, members of whom assisted Grey in the project. The Greys not only composed original illustrations for the publication, but they were among a very small number of artists of the period who cut their own wood blocks. The prints in this volume are very finely engraved and are distinguished by their meticulous detail and finesse. They comprise a wide range of mark making creating rich textures and a nuanced tonal range. The Cistercian abbey at Jerpoint, County Kilkenny was founded in the 12th century. A cruciform plan developed and in the 1400s a tower and cloister was added. The site is renowned for its collection of fine medieval architectural and tomb carvings. A selective view of the eastern end of the site is presented, the artist accentuating picturesque qualities such as the vegetation encroaching on the crumbling walls.

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