A Keating from a London restaurant

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

A VALUABLE Irish painting which hung in one of London’s best-known restaurants is to be auctioned next month.

The Seán Keating self-portrait, titled Fear Sorrdha (Man at Ease) was part of the art collection displayed in Langan’s Brasserie, the Mayfair restaurant established in 1976 by the late Peter Langan and actor Michael Caine.

The painting, with an estimate of £50,000–£80,000, (€61,000–€98,000) will go on display in Dublin and Belfast before being auctioned in Sotheby’s sale of British and Irish Art in London on November 13th.

According to Sotheby’s, the painting was shown at the Oireachtas Exhibition in Dublin in 1920 and shows Keating dressed in “an amalgamation of typical Aran Island-type clothing, but with a Spanish twist”.

Peter Langan, originally from Limerick, began his career as a petrol pump attendant in the north of England and moved to London in the 1970s. Langan’s Brasserie, near Piccadilly Circus, became one of the city’s most fashionable restaurants despite – or maybe because of – his eccentric and outrageous behaviour.

He wore a white suit and boasted of drinking numerous bottles of champagne daily. His drunkenness frequently led to robust exchanges with customers. The Daily Telegraph noted that: “Often he would pass out amid the cutlery before doing any damage, but occasionally he would cruise menacingly beneath the tables, biting unwary customers’ ankles.”

Langan was an art collector and the restaurant’s walls were hung with an eclectic collection including the Keating picture. He died in 1988, aged 47, after suffering burns in a fire at his home in Essex. – MP

Fear Sorrdha by Seán Keating

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