Sir Frederic Burton (1816-1900) is the artist renowned for creating Ireland’s Favourite Painting, ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ (1864). The watercolour based on a medieval Danish ballad about the ill-starred love between Hellelil and her bodyguard, Hildebrand, features a fleeting moment of intimacy between the two.
Dr Bourke will shed light on the career of the artist, who was born in Wicklow, although his background was in Co. Clare. Renowned for ‘The Meeting on The Turret Stairs’ (National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Bourke will also discuss some of the women in Burton’s life, notably his fiancée, Mary Palliser from Waterford.
Burton’s painting ‘Portrait of Mary Palliser’ (1871) can be seen on display in the current WGOA exhibition, ‘Portraits: People & Place’ and is currently on loan from the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, Canada. It is thought that the painting was initially gifted to Palliser as an engagement gift from Burton. The couple were engaged for 10 years though never married. Mary died of pneumonia in 1879 and is buried at Comeragh Cemetery, Waterford, close to her family home.
Dr Marie Bourke is a cultural historian and former Keeper-Head of Education at the National Gallery of Ireland. The author of ‘The Story of Irish Museums 1790-2000’(2013), she curated the National Gallery of Ireland’s recent Frederic William Burton exhibition ‘For the Love of Art.’
She is an Assessor on the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme chair of the RDS Arts Committee and member of the board of the National Library of Ireland.
The talk takes place at 1.30pm on Saturday, February 11th. Tickets are free but limited. To reserve your seat for this event, or to enquire about accessibility, email WaterfordGallery@waterfordcouncil.ie or call 051-849 983.
‘Portrait of Mary Palliser’ by Sir Frederic Burton which is on display in the Waterford Gallery of Art, 31-32 O’Connell Street, Waterford.