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IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Title: Monasterboice

Title of artwork:
Monasterboice
Artist:
Grey, Alfred
Materials:
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Techniques:
Wood engraving
Engraver:
Grey, Gregor P
Author:
Commissioners of National Education Ireland
Title of Publication:
Sixth reading book for the use of schools
Publisher:
Alexander Thom
Publication place:
Dublin
Publication date:
1878
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 grammar and Irish History and politics. Pedagogical theory of the period recognised the importance of combining text and image to stimulate learning.
Note on artwork:
This design by Alfred Grey, engraved by his brother Gregor P., is a composite image of the Early Christian site of Monasterboice, County Louth. The most dominant features of the site are the tenth century high crosses and round tower. To create a focused composition, the artist has taken liberties with the orientation of the crosses and their location within the site. The fragmented headstones, rambling vegetation and scattered architectural ruins create a romantic atmosphere. Included in the scene is a top-hatted gentleman contemplating the so-called Tall (West) cross at Monasterboice. The inclusion of this subject, and other references to early Irish history, in the national school curriculum, is indicative of the ever-growing awareness of, and importance of, Irish cultural studies at that time.
References:
Strickland (1913) and Snoddy (2002)


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