Irish Country Houses – Portraits & Painters is the result of a previous book by the author David Hicks. While researching, he encountered beautiful portraits of former residents in ageing mansions, with fascinating backgrounds.
A portrait is only fully understood when put into context: the artist, the sitter, the time, place and circumstances of its creation. Granted access to galleries, private art collections and some of Ireland’s great country houses, David collected wonderful stories and photographs. Behind the faces are tales of happiness and misfortune, of royalty, politicians, literary and artistic figures, of scandals and hunt balls. The houses, including Antrim Castle, Moore Abbey, Lissadell and Avondale, were built to impress. Many owners were patrons of the arts and commissioned the best artists such as William Orpen, Walter Osborne and Sarah Purser to capture their own or a family member’s likeness.
Now these portraits capture a way of life that no longer exists and each chapter paints a picture of a bygone age.