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Drawn to the Page

IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Title: Through the darkness came a shaft of flame. Fionn raised his shield...

Title of artwork:
Through the darkness came a shaft of flame. Fionn raised his shield to catch it.
Artist:
Elvery, Beatrice
Materials:
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Techniques:
Chromolithography
Engraver:
Photographic process
Author:
Russell, Violet
Title of Publication:
Heroes of the dawn
Publisher:
Maunsel and Co.
Publication place:
Dublin & London
Publication date:
1913
Curator Comment:
Written by Violet Russell, (1868 -1932), wife of George Russell (AE),’ Heroes of the dawn’ (1913) is a re-telling of the story of Fionn mac Cumall [Fionn Mac Cumhaill] and his band of warriors, the Fianna. Aimed at a younger audience, it was the author’s intention to recreate heroes for a new generation of Irish children to follow. The illustrations by Beatrice Elvery are faithful to the author’s text.
Note on artwork:
The majority of the illustrations for 'Heroes of the Dawn' are in Elvery’s characteristic bold, black and white, descriptive style. Some colour illustrations are included; Elvery uses gently layered watercolour washes to create works that are more ethereal in character. This scene recounts an event from Fionn’s youth when he defeated the ‘enchanter Aillen mac Midna’ who had come to destroy the site of Tara. With a magical sword and shield, Fionn repelled the powers of the towering demon which included the ability to cast fire from its mouth. Elvery’s representation of the event is prophetically science-fiction-like in character.
References:
Snoddy (2002) and ODNB online and DIB online


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