‘Connemara Girls’ for sale at Dublin exhibition

Painting is previously unrecognised masterpiece of ‘Irish Colleen’ genre

The Gorry Gallery in Dublin's Molesworth Street is holding its big winter exhibition and sale of 18th-21st Century Irish Paintings from November 27th-December 10th. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Thérèse Gorry, who died earlier this year.

The catalogue cover features Connemara Girls by the Victorian artist Sir Thomas Alfred Jones, which is described as "Perhaps the masterpiece of the 'Irish Colleen genre' of painting", featuring "'west of Ireland women, with gentle, oval faces, shining hair and lustrous eyes, and exquisitely decorated shawls". It was first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1880 and priced at £105. In a review, the Freeman's Journal described it as "a lovely ideal picture of three arch-looking colleens on a country road". Gorry's said that while "the picture was admired at the exhibition that year" it had subsequently "languished unrecognised until correctly identified for this exhibition".

By tradition, prices are on application and are not published in the catalogue but James Gorry said Connemara Girls was priced at €26,500, which seems modest given the quality and size of the painting. He said, in general, 19th-century Irish art was undervalued and that collectors "could get eight or 10 very good pictures for the price of one Paul Henry".

Other highlights include a Portrait of William Jameson, Esq. of Cork 1773, by the Italian artist Giuseppe Filippo Liborati Marchi; Visit to the Solicitor , a painting dated 1885 by Howard Eaton Helmick ; An Irish Landscape inspired by the Dargle Valley, by 18th-century artist George Barret in its original Irish carved and giltwood frame; and a late 19th-century painting, Gathering Wrack, by Aloysius O'Kelly, which depicts a man with a horse and cart gathering seaweed on the west coast of Ireland.

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Opening times for the exhibition at the Gorry Gallery, 20 Molesworth St, Dublin 2: Monday-Friday 11.30am- 5.30pm and Saturday 11.30am-2.30pm. See gorrygallery.ie