The artist shows a view looking north, centred on where the deputy master of Kilmainham Royal Hospital lived. With its extraordinarily tall chimneys and front door beneath a lamp, the eye is then drawn to the massively tall obelisk; the ‘Wellington Testimonial’, only visible after 1820. This survives in Phoenix Park, across the river Liffey. Sadler incorporates more detail on the domestic house, than on the East window of the hospital chapel, which balances his composition to the left. Part of the hospital’s north range, this chapel window’s ‘round head springs from eaves level and is crowned by a startling curvilinear archivolt-like hood-moulding, boldly breaking the order and rhythm of the East front.’3 The Gothic sandstone tracery contains stained glass, within a complexity of quatrefoils and daggers. Detail and narrative is further added by Sadler’s well-dressed walkers, and soldiers, one on a dramatically rearing horse, who guard the premises.
Dr Claudia Kinmonth MRIA
1 Homan Potterton, introduced, National Gallery of Ireland Illustrated Summary Catalogue of Paintings (Gill and MacMillan, 1981), pp. 291-92.
2 Brendan Rooney in A. Carpenter, N. Figgis, M. Arnold, N. Butler & E. Mayes eds., Art & Architecture of Ireland, vol.II, Painting 1600-1900 (Royal Irish Academy, 2015), figs. 452-3, pp.443-45.
3 Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland Dublin (Yale University Press, 2005), pp. 676-77.
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