Country Scene

Paul Henry RHA (1876 – 1958)

  • Artist
    Paul Henry RHA
  • Title
    Country Scene
  • Date
    1926
  • Dimensions
    60 × 50cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented by James A. Healy in 1975 (Josephine C. Healy Memorial Collection)
Description

Paul Henry was born in Belfast and educated in London and Paris but it was in the west of Ireland that he was to find himself at home. His western landscapes, often depicting idyllic scenes of thatched cottages crowned by towers of billowing cloud, were long considered to be the quintessential images of the west of Ireland.

This work, which can be dated to 1926–1928 on stylistic grounds, was painted on the island of Achill where Henry lived from 1910–1919. The scene has been identified as the view looking due south from the southern point of Achill towards Clare Island.

Henry’s first visit to Achill in 1910 was partly inspired by the descriptions of the west in John Millington Synge’s play Riders to the Sea. The two Irishmen had met in Paris, where Henry studied from 1898 to 1900. After a decade living in London, Henry and his first wife, the painter Grace Henry, decided to spend a fortnight’s holiday on Achill. Enchanted by the light, the landscape and the simple way in which the locals lived, the Henrys spent much of the following decade living and painting on the island.

Written by Riann Coulter

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