To mark the recent acquisition of an ink study for The Goose Girl (1888), a beloved painting by Edith Somerville, this exhibition draws together all seven of the artist’s works in the collection.
Born on the island of Corfu, Edith Anna Œnone Somerville (1858-1949) was an Irish writer, farmer, huntswoman, suffragist, and organist. Although she is best known for her writing partnership with cousin, Violet Martin (1862-1915) – Somerville & Ross – she was also a talented artist with keen skills of observation.
From the 1870s on, she studied in London – at South Kensington School of Art and Westminster School of Art – Düsseldorf, and Paris – at the Académie Colarossi and Académie Delécluse. She contributed to both Graphic and Lady’s Pictorial as an illustrator and sketched during her travels in Ireland and Europe.
At home in the West Cork coastal village of Castletownshend, Somerville commissioned sculptor Séamus Murphy (1907-1975) to make a memorial bench and Harry Clarke (1889-1931) to create stained-glass windows for her parish church. She also designed a mosaic in memory of Violet Martin.
This exhibition offers a glimpse into Edith Somerville’s world and the connections between her drawings, paintings, and writings. Sketches in artists’ studios, witty illustrations, and beautifully observed works in oils all contribute to our understanding of a woman who, though born into privilege, mastered many of the pursuits upon which she cast her roving eye.