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Frederic William Burton’s enduring affection for the West of Ireland Lecture by Marie Bourke
Frederic William Burton (1816-1900), who grew up in Co Clare, was an artist of the first rank. After a successful career in Ireland, he travelled to Germany and then to London. Here, he was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite artists. His best-known watercolour, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864, was voted Ireland’s favourite painting in 2012. In 1874, he gave up painting and became a Director of the National Gallery, London. Over twenty years here, he acquired many famous paintings. Although he was one of the most significant Irish cultural figures of the nineteenth century; it was not until the recent Burton exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland that the artist was rediscovered. Burton developed an enduring affection for the west from his early years painting in Connemara with the antiquarian George Petrie. Marie Bourke’s talk will illustrate his western paintings in the context of his career. It will show how this distinguished nineteenth-century artist, antiquary and museum director never forgot his roots in the west.
Marie Bourke is a cultural historian and former Keeper/Head of Education. She curated the recent Burton exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland.
Image Credit: Frederic William Burton, Irish, 1816-1900 Hellelil and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864. Watercolour and gouache on paper. 95.5 x 60.8 cm Courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland Photo © National Gallery of Ireland
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