Dermod O’Brien

Life
1865-1945; son of Edward William O'Brien and Hon. Mary Spring Rice (gd. of Lord Monteagle of Brandon) and grandson of William Smith O’Brien, b. Mount Trenchard, nr. Foynes, Co. Limerick; raised by his aunt Charlotte Grace O'Brien, with his sisters, Nelly and Lucy, after his mother’s early death; ed. at Harrow, TCD, and Cambridge; studied painting at Antwerp, with Walter Osborne, and at the Academie Julien in Paris; settled in London, 1893 and moved to Dublin in 1901; m. Mabel Emmeline Smyly, dg. of Sir Philip Crampton Smyly, 8 March 1902, with whom five children; exhibited RHA 1901-04; assoc. of RHA, 1906; elected MRHA 1907; elected president of the RHA, 1910-45; hon. member of RA (London), 1912; appt. High Sheriff of Co. Limerick, 1916 and Deputy Lieutenant of Co. Limerick; served in the Artists’ Rifles in WWI; elected President of the United Arts Club; regarded as official portrait painter of Ireland, made portraits incl. George Bermingham and Conal O’Riordan; wintered in S. France; sold family home of Cahirmoyle and settled in Dublin; d. Fitzwilliam Sq., 3 Oct. 1945; a son Brendan became a surgeon in Dublin (m. Kitty Wilmer O'Brien, an artist). DIB

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Commentary
Patricia Boylan, All Cultivated People: A History of the United Arts Club (1988), apprehensive in the period of the Land Acts about the future of ‘our class’; wrote to his wife: I am getting uneasy about the political situation in Ireland ... whichever side comes in, it will likely be only by a small majority governed by the Irish vote and I would not put it past the Unionists to give Home Rule rather than lose office [...; this] would almost certainly mean compulsory purchase at a low figure and 15 years purchase instead of 18 would mean giving up living at Cahirmoyle [...] If there is Home Rule it is all the more essential that a leaven of our class should be left in the country.’ (?Some I Knew Well) [36]. Offered honorary membership and a dinner at Arts Club, while living at Yeovil, Zion Road, Rathgar, in ?1947 [224]. See photograph of the library at Cahirmoyle among ills. [pls.], ibid, and further references (passim); see also under Lennox Robinson, infra.

[ There is a Wikipedia page - online; accessed 24.01.2018; styled an Anglo-Irish painter; details as supra; entry shows “The Fine Art Academy, Antwerp” (1890), in oil. ]

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Notes
Niagerously: The seat on which Kavanagh wrote his “Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin”, was ‘erected to the Memory of Mrs Dermot O’Brien’.

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