National Gallery of Ireland

Why did this brilliant Irish artist fall off the radar? 

Sir John Lavery has always had a place in Irish affections. His depiction of his wife, Hazel, as the mythical figure of Cathleen ni Houlihan, which appeared on the old ten shilling and subsequently on the watermark of the Irish pound notes, meant, as the joke went, that every Irishman kept her close to his heart. He was indeed Irish – born in Belfast – but was at home in Scotland, and was the best known of the spirited group of painters called the Glasgow Boys. Yet he lived most of his life in London, was friends with Winston Churchill (they took a painting trip together) and also with Michael

Exceptional career woman, unexceptional painter: Lavinia Fontana, at the National Gallery of Ireland, reviewed

Reviewing the Prado’s joint exhibition of Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana in the Art Newspaper three years ago, Brian Allen pronounced it well worth seeing but predicted that each of these pioneering 16th-century women artists ‘would wither in the spotlight of her own retrospective’. Was he right? In its new monographic exhibition devoted to Fontana, the National Gallery of Ireland puts his waspish prediction to the test. Her ‘Galatea and Cherubs’ and ‘Venus and Mars’ are believed to be the first nudes painted by a woman Ireland’s National Gallery was an early investor in Fontana, acquiring her most ambitious work, ‘The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon’