As the rain pours down outside my office window, I came to think about how the Irish weather has been portrayed in visual art. My first thought was of blue-skied, cloud-filled paintings by Paul Henry, such as the National Gallery of Ireland’s A Connemara Village. Equally evocative I think, is his painting of Early Morning, Connemara, one of my favourite works by Henry.
Browsing on the NGI website, I was reminded of the huge number of works they hold by Nathaniel Hone II (1831 – 1917), many of which are atmospheric and weather studies of the Dublin coast. While very few of the online entries are in colour, that only seems to emphasis the gathering clouds that threaten in Pastures at Malahide (below).
A quick Google Image search for Hone shows the extent to which he was concerned with the effects of the weather on the Irish landscape, as does a gander at the fantastic BBC Your Paintings website. This painting of a stormy sea at Bundoran (below) strikes me as typical of many summer holidays in Ireland; as soon as you get settled on the sand, and start enjoying those precious rays of sun, the blue sky suddenly becomes shrouded in thick black clouds, sending you back to the car to eat your picnic.
One of the great features of the Your Paintings website is the tagging system, which allows you to search for different features that have been noted by other viewers and users. A search for ‘rain’ brings up a host of results, ranging from the biblical to the everyday. Looking through them, you have to wonder, if Irish collections brought in such a system, how many grey, wet days would appear in the results?!
Pastures at Malahide and Rain Clouds over a Bay, National Gallery of Ireland, http://www.nationalgallery.ie
Bundoran Sands: Stormy Day, National Museums of Northern Ireland/BBC Your Paintings, http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings