Dermod O’Brien

Life
1865-1945; grandson of William Smith O’Brien, b. Mount Trenchard, Foynes, Co. Limerick; ed. Harrow, TCD, and Cambridge; studied painting at Antwerp, Paris, and London; exhibited RHA 1901-04; MRHA 1907; president RHA 1910-45; President United Arts Club; regarded as official portrait painter of Ireland, 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. 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.

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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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