Richard Thomas Moynan, Irish, 1856-1906
Title: Military Manoeuvres
Date: 1891
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
148 x 240 cm
Signed: lower left: R.T. Moynan R.H.A. 1891
Credit Line: Purchased, 1982
Object Number: NGI.4364
DescriptionThe setting for this theatrical picture is the main street in Leixlip, County Kildare. As they stroll along the pavement, a soldier and his young female companion find themselves shadowed by a group of ragged, mostly barefoot children pretending to be the members of a military band. The children perform with both real and improvised instruments, from flutes and tin whistles to tin cans and a wooden box. Several of them try to attract the attention of the soldier, who remains resolutely aloof. The soldier has been identified as a trooper of the Fourth Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, and wears the walking-out uniform of the cavalry regiment. The would-be drum major, meanwhile, waiting impatiently for his charges, wears the helmet of the regimental band, its black horse-hair plume clearly visible. Moynan painted many military subjects, including formal portraits, and was also admired for his ability in depicting children.
Military Manoeuvres is an excellent example of everyday, provincial life painted on a grand scale. Such works, particularly those featuring children, were popular throughout Europe in the final decades of the nineteenth century. Moynan entered Trinity College Dublin but abandoned his medical studies to become a full-time artist. Having received artistic training in Dublin and Antwerp, he moved to France, and on his return to Ireland adapted the style he had developed abroad to local themes.

March 2016
ProvenanceBy descent in an Irish family since the 1920's; purchased, Anonymous Vendor, July 1982
Exhibition HistoryRoyal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 1891

World's Columbian Exposition: British Section, Chicago, 1893

Acquisitions 1981-1982, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1982
Label TextAs they stroll along the main street in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, a trooper of the Fourth Royal Irish Dragoon Guards and his female companion find themselves shadowed by a group of ragged children pretending to be the members of a military band. Several try to attract the attention of the soldier, but he remains resolutely aloof. The would-be drum major, waiting impatiently for his charges, wears the helmet of the regimental band, its black horse-hair plume clearly visible. Moynan painted many military subjects, including formal portraits, and was also admired for his ability in depicting children.