Date: c. 1895
Dimensions: 25.5 × 16.5cm
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Purchased by Dawson Gallery, Dublin in 1966
The Metal Man stands on a plinth at the mouth of the harbour at Rosses Point, Co. Sligo. It was erected in Napoleonic times as is evident from its distinctive costume. Its purpose was to guide ships into the safe channel. The extended arm of the Metal Man shows the way. This very early watercolour gives a close-up view of the monument as though sketched from the sea immediately beneath. The Metal Man recurs in several subsequent paintings and drawings by Yeats, most notably as an illustration in his book, Life in the West of Ireland, (1912). The much-loved figure symbolised both childhood memories of Sligo and the adventure of the sea-faring life.
Written by Roisin Kennedy