Thursday 14 November 2019

Lavery captured our love of socialising -- then and now

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

IT appears some things never change.

Plenty of folk were delighted to recall shows gone by as they examined the 1928 painting of the RDS Horse Show by esteemed artist Sir John Lavery.

Taking pride of place at Whyte's art auctioneer's stand, with a six-figure price tag, it showed how the main arena was a much plainer affair with old rustic show jumps and far more modest stands.

All the same, in the 1920s, it was the gossip and the mingling of the well-heeled that inspired Lavery to explore the Dublin Horse Show in his work.

And almost a century later people still can't resist flocking to the show to catch up with friends and indulge in social banter in the Long Bar overlooking the show rings. Sarah Gates, director of Whyte's auctioneers, said there had been plenty of interest in the painting (pictured above) during the show.

"We find a lot of visitors are finding their way to it and they are reminiscing about all the changes that have taken place over the years -- the stands and the jumps," Ms Gates said.

"John Lavery loved a social occasion and a great spectacle and it was a welcome escape from the confines of a London studio to attend such a great social event."

The painting was personally inscribed by Lavery on his wife Hazel's behalf 'To Lennox' -- in reference to Lennox Robinson, their friend and playwright from the Abbey Theatre.

The painter, who was born in Belfast in 1856, worked as an official British war artist during the First World War and was knighted for his efforts. The other paintings hanging nearby include a Dublin scene by Jack Butler Yeats and a still life by Roderic O'Conor.

Irish Independent

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