William and Mary by Sean Keating (1889-1977)

Date: N.D.
Dimensions: 63 × 55.5cm
Medium: Pastel on paper
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Presented by Haverty Trust


Keating’s first visit to the Aran Islands in 1914 had a deep impact on his life and art.

He concluded that the essence of Irishness resided in the inhabitants of the west and in works such as William and Mary he elevated country folk to native nobility.

Although many of his representations of western figures appear to be types rather than individuals, he did use his friends and acquaintances as models and sometimes recycled faces in a number of different works. The model for William in this piece also appears in a pastel sketch known as Two Men with Wine Goblets and has been identified as a rather caricatured portrait of Michael P. Cronin of Dromscarra, Kiskeam, Co. Cork, who also sat for Keating’s Republican Court, 1921, painted in 1946.

This work was presented to the Model and Niland Collection by the Haverty Trust which was established to encourage Irish art by purchasing works and donating them to public institutions. The Trust made its first purchases in 1930 and, as they usually bought contemporary work, William and Mary is likely to date from after that date and may have been produced around 1946 when Keating was working on Republican Court, 1921.

Written by Riann Coulter


About the Artist

Sean Keating PRHA (1889 -1977)

Born 1889, Limerick, Ireland. Died 1977, Dublin, Ireland. Limerick native, Sean Keating is one of Irelands best known twentieth century artists. Keating was a traditionalist whose style was marked with a directness and precision. His fine draughtsmanship can be seen in his many paintings of Irish people. Keating studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, under the distinguished artist and teacher Sir William Orpen. Upon graduation, he spent four years living in the Aran Islands, where, he said, he found the Ireland he could paint. Keating first exhibited at the R.H.A. in 1914 and then showed there every year for sixty-one years. He spent twenty years as professor of painting at the National College of Art in Dublin, where he taught many up and coming artists such as Maurice McGonigal and Charles Lamb.

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