Untitled (Holloway Jail, 1919)
Constance Gore-Booth (1868 – 1927)
TitleUntitled (Holloway Jail, 1919)
MediumWatercolour on paper
ProvenanceDonated by Desmond Duncan, 2004
A Suffragette and a fervent campaigner for women’s rights, Constance Gore-Booth or Countess Markievicz as she was later known, is best remembered for her role in the Easter Rising where she was a leading member of the Irish Citizen’s Army. Although she was condemned to death in 1916 her gender resulted in the sentence being commuted to penal servitude for life and, after spending periods in Aylesbury and Holloway jails, she was released. During her confinement, Gore-Booth’s sister, Eva, supplied her with art materials which allowed her to complete a number of drawings and watercolours including this work on a mythical theme. Representing three riders on horse back with Celtic knot work on their robes and bridles, this delicate work may have been inspired by myths about the ancient race of the Fianna.
Gore-Booth was later to become the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament, but complying with Sinn Féin’s policy, she refused to take her seat. She was also a member of the first Dáil Éireann, where she was appointed Minister for Labour, and later joined de Valera’s Fianna Fáil party.
Written by Riann Coulter