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Drawn to the Page

IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Title: Frontispiece

Title of artwork:
Frontispiece
Artist:
Fitzgerald, William
Materials:
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Techniques:
Wood engraving
Engraver:
Bolton, T
Author:
Anon.
Title of Publication:
The talk of the road
Publisher:
Partridge and Co.
Publication place:
London
Publication date:
1876
Curator Comment:
The full title of this publication is ‘The talk of the road: showing how Irish people talk about Irish doings when they get a quiet place at the back of a ditch or under a hedge’. Written from a prejudiced protestant view-point, the text is a comparative discussion on the differences between those of the protestant religion (the landed class) and those of the Roman Catholic persuasion (peasant class) in nineteenth century Ireland. First issued in Dublin in 1854, this illustrated edition of 1876 was printed in London, Dublin and Edinburgh. The narrative reads as a series of encounters and is threaded with examples of local Hiberno-English vernacular and customs. The illustrations reflect the tone of publication.
Note on artwork:
In this image the main protagonist, a young protestant gentleman, is seen to enter an Irish village in an open carriage. The illustration, created by Reverend William Fitzgerald, a keen amateur artist and one-time member of the Dublin Sketching Club, adheres to stereotypical ‘Punch’ depictions of the Irish labouring classes. The figures huddled to the left are brutish, simian-like in appearance, in stark contrast to fine features and formal appearance of the novel’s principal hero. The surroundings lack order, the scene chaotic. Fitzgerald’s strengths lie in his ability to create distinctive, animated figures.


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