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25
Nathaniel Hone, R.H.A.
GATHERING SEAWEED ON THE STRAND, MALAHIDE
JUMP TO LOT
25
Nathaniel Hone, R.H.A.
GATHERING SEAWEED ON THE STRAND, MALAHIDE
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

A Living Legacy: Irish Art from the Collection of Brian P. Burns

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London

Nathaniel Hone, R.H.A.
1831-1917
GATHERING SEAWEED ON THE STRAND, MALAHIDE
signed with initials l.r.: N H
oil on canvas
63.5 by 91.5cm., 25 by 36in.
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Provenance

John Quinn, New York;
Christie's, Scotland, 28 June 1995, lot 215

Exhibited

Boston, Boston College Museum of Art, America’s Eye: Irish Paintings from the Collection of Brian P. Burns, 26 January - 19 May 1996, no.1, illustrated p.71, with tour to Dublin, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, 19 June - 25 August 1996 and New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, 25 September 1997 - 4 January 1998;
Washington, John F. Kennedy Center, Irish Paintings from the Collection of Brian P. Burns, 13 - 28 May 2000, illustrated p.39;
Phoenix, Phoenix Art Museum, A Century of Irish Painting: Selections from the Brian P. Burns Collection, 3 March - 29 April 2007, illustrated p.69

Literature

Anne Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, Ireland's Painters 1600-1940, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2002, no.334, illustrated p.248

Catalogue Note

In Nathaniel Hone’s Gathering Seaweed on the Strand, Malahide, the location depicted is the estuary at Malahide, in north county Dublin, with the sea just visible, and sand dunes in the far distance. A horse and cart have been brought out onto the strand, to where a line of seaweed has been washed up after a storm. The two gatherers by the cart are deftly suggested with dashes of paint, rather than depicted in detail. In the distance can be seen the sail of a gaff-rigged fishing vessel. The diagonal dark line of seaweed intersects with the horizon, above which are blue skies and clouds. Although seaweed gathering is the ostensible subject-matter of this painting, in fact it is the massed white clouds, catching the sunlight, that are the real focus of the artist’s attention. In a homage the Dutch landscape tradition, Hone has placed the horizon line low, so much so that sky and clouds occupy almost two-thirds of the canvas. This is a painting more about light, colour and atmosphere than it is about human activity; it is a celebration of the immanence and grandeur of nature. 

People gathering seaweed was a favourite subject for painters in Ireland in the nineteenth century. Samuel Lover’s The Kelp Gatherers dates from 1835, while fourteen years later, George Victor Du Noyer was sketching horses and carts, with people gathering kelp, on a Wexford beach. Joseph Malachy Kavanagh’s Carting Seaweed on Sutton Sands, painted in 1895, is in the National Gallery of Ireland. Three years later Henry Jones Thaddeus was painting seaweed gatherers in the West of Ireland, while from 1912 onwards, Paul Henry, living and working in Co. Mayo, often depicting turf cutting and kelp gathering. In the west of Ireland, seaweed was sometimes piled high and burned, as a source of iodine; but in most cases around the Irish coast it was collected in carts, and spread over fields, to enrich depleted sandy soils.

In 1901, Hone shared an important exhibition with John Butler Yeats in Dublin which brought both artists to national acclaim and convinced patron and collector Hugh Lane that Dublin should have a modern gallery of art. The present painting was acquired by John Quinn, a first generation Irish-American and New York lawyer who was a leading patron of Irish artists. He was especially close to the Yeats family, supporting and promoting John Butler Yeats, W. B. Yeats and Jack B. Yeats in America.

Peter Murray

A Living Legacy: Irish Art from the Collection of Brian P. Burns

|
London