Early morning on Donegal Lough

Paul Henry RHA (1876 – 1958)

  • Artist
    Paul Henry RHA
  • Title
    Early morning on Donegal Lough
  • Date
    c. 1917
  • Dimensions
    61 × 50.5cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Presented by James A. Healy in 1975 (Josephine C. Healy Memorial Collection)
Description

This serene image of a landscape bathed in early morning light dates from 1917–18 and is also known as Early Morning on the Lake of the Glittering Sword. Like The Lake of the Tears of the Sorrowing Women, also in the Model and Niland Collection, the romantic title of this work was suggested by Henry’s Achill friend Johnny Tom Owen MacNamara.

Despite this Achill connection, and the fact that it dates from Henry’s residency on the island, this work is believed to depict Lough Altan in Donegal. The influence of Whistler’s teaching can clearly be seen in the limited palette and lack of detail in the image. Henry’s red–green colour blindness also helped to determine the palette of greys and blues that he favoured.

Early Morning on a Donegal Lough was included in the exhibition Paintings by Paul Henry held at the Hackett Gallery, New York in March 1930. The unsold painting ended up in the possession of the Irish-American lawyer Richard Campbell, who was a friend and admirer of Henry’s and, for a period, also acted as his New York agent. Campbell had introduced Henry to the New York stock broker James A. Healy and later sold this work to him.

Written by Riann Coulter

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