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Drawn to the Page

IRISH ARTISTS & ILLUSTRATION 1830-1930

Title: Unemployed

Title of artwork:
Unemployed
Artist:
Orpen, William
Materials:
Paper (fiber material), Ink
Techniques:
Lithographic Reproduction
Engraver:
Photographic process
Author:
Anon.
Title of Publication:
Shanachie
Publisher:
Maunsel and Co.
Publication place:
Dublin
Publication date:
1907
Curator Comment:
‘The Shanachie: an illustrated Irish miscellany’ was first issued in 1906 and published by Maunsel and Co. Ltd, and was edited by the company’s founder Joseph Maunsell Hone. Containing literary material and social commentary, this ‘little magazine’ included contributions from leading writers of the Irish revival, among them were AE (George Russell), Lord Dunsany, Lady Gregory, Seumas O’Sullivan, George Bernard Shaw, JM Synge and WB Yeats. Artists who contributed to the publication comprised leading figures in Irish illustration including Seaghan MacCathmhoil (John Campbell), Beatrice Elvery, Elinor Monsell, George Morrow, R. Caufield Orpen, William Orpen, Hugh Thomson, Jack B. Yeats and John B. Yeats.
Note on artwork:
This image is a photographic reproduction after a drawing by the painter William Orpen (1878 – 1931). By the turn of the twentieth century, many publishing houses were employing new photographic technologies to illustrate their publications. This sepia-toned social-realist image shows Orpen at his best. The head of a working-class man is carefully studied and captured, white highlights stress the three dimensional presence of the face which contrasts pointedly with the sketchy rendering of the shoulders and upper torso. The limitations of the new technology are evident from the somewhat overwhelming sepia hue.
References:
ODNB online; DIB online; Grove Art online


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