The Táin, Cúchulainn Mounting Into His Chariot by Louis le Brocquy (1916 – 2012)

The Táin, Cúchulainn mounting into his chariot

Date: c. 1969
Dimensions: 54 × 38cm
Medium: Lithograph on swiftbrook paper
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Edition of 70 proofs. Purchased in 1970


The original Táin published by Dolmen Press in 1969 was applauded as being the great Irish livre d’artiste of the twentieth century comprises 123 illustrations. The same year, the artist produced The Táin portfolios (1969) consisting of three sets of twelve black and white lithographic brush drawings selected from the Táin and grouped by theme. In total, 36 sheets plus five ‘Individual Subjects’ and four chromo-lithographic ‘Epic Shields’ separate.

The Táin portfolios consist of limited editions of 70 proofs each sheet individually signed, dated and numbered by the artist including portfolio numbers (I, II, & III).

Printed by Frank O’Reilly, Dublin, on Swiftbrook paper, each 54 × 38 (38 × 54) cm. Large folios, unbound with title pages and black interleaves. Boxed by Museum Bookbinders, Dublin, black boards stamped in white in a design by the artist.

The Niland house in its collection 15 lithographs out of the 45 that make up The Táin portfolios.


About the Artist

Louis le Brocquy (1916 – 2012)

Born 1916, Dublin , Ireland. Died 2012, Dublin, Ireland. le Brocquy initially studied chemistry at Trinity, but his art soon took precedence and he left Ireland, travelling through Europe visiting major art museums to educate himself, since then he continued to live primarily outside Ireland, most notably in France. His early paintings reflect his travels in Europe and his art experiences there, as he draws influences from artists such as Edward Manet, James McNeill Whistler, and Edgar Degas. As his work progressed le Brocquy became more aware of the surreal nature of the work. Once produced, the Royal Academy were unwilling to show it, and so along with some contemporaries such as Mainie Jellet and Evie Hone, he helped in the founding of The Irish Exhibition of Living Art, a venue to exhibit contemporary art in Ireland, and a means to draw more attention to contemporary art in general. For much of his life he was preoccupied with the theme of the isolation of the individual, which led to a period in 1945 where he concentrated on the Travelling People of Ireland. As le Brocquy never had any formal training he too felt like the outsider and felt a connection with this specific theme.

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