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IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Title: The State of Ireland: Posting the Government proclamation in Connemara

Title of artwork:
The State of Ireland: Posting the Government proclamation in Connemara
Artist:
O'Kelly, Aloysius
Materials:
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Techniques:
Wood engraving
Author:
Anon.
Title of Publication:
Illustrated London News (Vol. LXXIX)
Publisher:
George C. Leighton
Publication place:
London
Publication date:
1881
Curator Comment:
Like a number of Irish artists in their early careers, Aloysius O’Kelly turned to illustration to provide an income and to increase his profile as an artist. Among the journals he provided drawings for were the Illustrated London News (ILN) and Pictorial World. O’Kelly’s illustrations for ILN, such as this example, are interesting in that they address the political and social unrest experienced in Ireland during the Land War of the early 1880s, which resulted in the mobilisation of peasant classes to assert their rights as tenants in the West of Ireland. O’Kelly’s work is noted for its authenticity in its observations of Irish life and its political sensibilities when viewed in the context of his English publishers.
Note on artwork:
Published in 19th November, 1881, this ILN illustration ‘The State of Ireland: Posting the Government proclamation in Connemara’ depicts the local constabulary hanging a notice that declared the Land League to be an illegal organization. Set in the majestic surroundings of the West of Ireland, a group of Irish peasants appear to discuss events with the police. While the officers are armed there is little sense of threat in the scene. A horse stands docilely, a load of turf hitched to it.
References:
DIB online, N. O'Sullivan, Aloysius O'Kelly: art, nation, empire (Dublin 2010).


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