Maria Spilsbury Taylor, British, 1776-1820
Title: Patron's Day at the Seven Churches, Glendalough
Date: c.1816
Medium: Oil on canvas
106.5 x 128.5 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1993
Object Number: NGI.4587
DescriptionAt the valley monastery in County Wicklow, founded by St Kevin around 617AD, his Saint's, or Patron's Day, was commemorated on 4 June. It was suppressed in the 1860s, due to rowdiness. Maria Spilsbury Taylor concentrates more on the worship, some of it quite intense, but does not include food for a picnic, against the backcloth of St Kevin's Cross, the Upper Lake, Cathedral and Round Tower. She was a celebrated Regency English artist, married to a drawing master, John Taylor, and they became house guests of the literary and progressive thinking Tighe family and their relations. She recorded this world in her sketchbooks (now in the NGI), including studies of Glendalough. Her use of bitumen to give a soft warm tone, before the final figure detail, led to a network of cracks, only redressed in painstaking recent conservation.