Art, Nature & the Coast

Wicklow Hills

For my latest etching, I went up to the nearby hills and sat in a very old graveyard, where I could get the best view and sketched away what quickly crept on to the next page of my panoramic sketchbook. I wanted to capture the gentle slopes of the hills, dotted with livestock while the farm below nestled in the dip before the undulations, while in the distance the faint hills and glimpse of the bay were a reminder of where you were.

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In order to achieve the myriad tones on the plate I spent many hours in the basement of the Graphic Studio aquatinting and etching with the acid ….

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Here is the result, a panoramic landscape complete with a tumultuous sky!

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‘Wicklow Hills’

etching & aquatint

edition of 125

plate size 70mm x 340mm

paper size 220mm x 490mm

 

Feel free to contact me if you would like to buy one.

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Ham House from The East Garden

‘Ham House from The East Garden’
Etching & Aquatint
printed on Rosapina Avorio Bianco
plate size: H18.5cm x W17.5cm
paper size: H35.5cm x W33.5cm
It is the same size as ‘The View with Cow Parsley’
Available to pre-order directly from me now and will be in stock in my English gallery outlets from the beginning of May.

Art, Floral & Gardens

Ham House from The East Garden

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Art, Floral & Gardens, Nature & the Coast

The View from Richmond Hill

I am in the middle of working on a series of new etchings based on both here and my second home of Richmond.

Here is the first one

from the sketchbook ……

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to the plate…

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‘The View with Cow Parsley’

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It is everyone’s favourite view from Richmond Hill looking down on the Thames where I love to row.

This view is famous as it is the only view in England that is protected by an Act of Parliament which was passed in 1902  “to protect the land on and below Richmond Hill and thus preserve the fine foreground views to the west and south”

it is available to pre-order directly from me now: niamhtheprintmaker@gmail.com

and will be in stock in my English gallery outlets from the beginning of May. Its quite big for me!

It is an etching & aquatint

Plate size: H18.5cm x W17.5cm

Paper size: H35.5cm x W33.5cm

printed on Rosapina Avorio bianco

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London Bridge c.1600

A tour of Old London Bridge

I have set this particular etching circa 1600.
It looks towards the East side of the bridge.

Towards the Southwark end we see the Great Stone Gate complete with the infamous traitors’ heads on poles designed to serve as a deterrant although actually recorded as seeming to be more of a tourist attraction.

At both ends of the bridge there were water wheels serving two mills. The South end mill, with its wheel in one of the arches, drove the waterworks – London’s first supply of pumped water from the Thames, while at the other end four water wheels, built a few feet away from the bridge upon the bases of a few of the arches (known as starlings), served the cornmill that was provided for the poorer citizens to grind their own corn at a moderate charge.

Towards the middle we have the incredibly ornate building known then as Nonesuch House – literally ‘no-other-such-house’. It was actually a prefabricated building that had been shipped over in sections from Holland, where it had originally been built. Its construction spanned two years, commencing in 1577. It is recorded that it was fitted together with only wooden pegs, without the use of a single nail – such was the immense precision in its design. It was decorated heavily with ornate woodcarvings and onion shaped cupolas and was apparently painted in brilliant colours. It stood for almost two hundred years but was in quite a state of decay when it was finally demolished in the eighteenth century along with all the rest of the houses on the bridge.

There had been a chapel in the middle of the bridge originating from the late twelfth century. This was dedicated to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and a native Londoner. It had become the setting off point of the pilgrimage to his Canterbury shrine – where he had been murdered. In 1538 Henry VIII ordered all representations of the saint be defaced and later in 1549 it was stripped and allowed fall into decay, eventually turned in to a grocer’s shop. It is recorded that there was originally an entrance above the starling on which it stood. It seems that wherrymen and fishermen would tie their boats up and enter this way – a convenient access for them visit daily to seek a blessing on their day’s work. In this etching it is unrecognisable as a chapel with makeshift scaffolding built around it.

A major fire in 1633 destroyed most of the houses featured at the Northern end of the bridge. It is written that “On the 13th day of February, between eleven and twelve at night, there happened in the house of one Briggs, a needlemaker near St Magnus Church, at the North end of the Bridge, by the carelessness of a maid-servant setting a tub of hot sea-coal ashes under a pair of stairs, a sad and lamentable fire, which consumed all of the buildings before eight of the clock the next morning” There was an extreme scarcity of water as the Thames was almost frozen over at the time. Forty two premises were recorded as destroyed including: eight haberdashers, six hosiers, one shoemaker, five hatters, three silk mercers, one male milliner, two glovers, two mercers, one distiller of strong waters, one girdler, one linen draper, two woolen drapers, one salter, two grocers, one scrivener, one pin maker, one clerk and the curate of St. Magnus the Martyr. As the majority of these buildings were not replaced any time soon, the gap in the bridge prevented the Great fire in 1666 from spreading on to the bridge.

Antiques & Antiquing, Art

Old London Bridge c.1600

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Art

June Open Studio Weekend at Glasnamullan House, County Wicklow

I am still recovering from the blur that was last week. I hosted a very special event up in the Mountains. The idea was born a few months ago on a snowy day sitting around the kitchen table of artists Brien Vahey and Grainne Cuffe. They live in the most wonderful old house that has an artistic history at its heart. It was in its past, the home of the renowned painter Camille Souter and she has left her mark around the place, like this beautiful tiled window sill she made…..

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As an Interior Stylist I love that house – each room has a different personality each with its own vista of both the sweeping leafy driveway at the front and then different aspect of the mature garden and where it meets the surrounding fields and hills – magical.

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It has always had bundles of  artworks piled around the place, but I always felt it would really lend itself as a gallery space to display all the paintings and etchings while letting people see how a piece of art enhances a room – which is one of my missions in my Interior Styling & Home Curation Service.

I put my idea of an opportunity to show their work, and sell it while we’re at it, to Brien & Grainne and they agreed – with trepidation! we decided sometime around Midsummer would work, we committed to the dates and got to work.

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There were weeks of preparation but last week we really got down to brass tacks and spent days and nights decluttering, moving furniture, choosing wines, framing pictures, curating what would hang where, there were cleaners, gardeners and helpful neighbours all mucking in.

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moving the piano!

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the paint on Brien’s road signs drying at the last minute

So we opened at midday on Saturday, after 24hours of torrential rain, the sun had come out, the bunting was up, the wine was on ice and we were ready. We then suddenly thought … what if nobody comes?! but we needn’t have worried, “If you build it, they will come” I kept thinking and they did. But sure why wouldn’t you?! There was an array of paintings and colourful etchings on display – a feast for the eyes.

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There were beautiful wines or elderflower cordial to be sipped

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Grainne’s delicious lemon parsley butter on brownbread with smoked salmon to be enjoyed!

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Not only was it an opportunity to peruse the selection of paintings and handmade prints but also to talk the artists themselves. We opened up their studios that are located in the outbuildings and Grainne & Brien took people around and explained the processes involved in creating. What better way to spend a weekend afternoon!

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Grainne’s etching studio

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one of Brien’s studios (it depends on the season)

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The Garden Studio

We had also styled the end sitting room to help people envisage artworks in their own interior

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To top it all off, many of the visitors took the opportunity to bag a bargain and begin or extend their art collection (including moi!) and many happy people left with a picture under their arm, while others left with a wish list to save up for having being introduced to the wonderful work of Grainne & Brien. The weekend, the first of its kind, was a huge success and worth all everyone’s hard work. I am now thinking up the next one so watch this space!

Incidentally, if you are interested in any of their works, let me know, as it is available through my Home Curation Service.

Also, Brien runs oil painting courses in Ballymoney, County Wexford  – another unique way to spend your weekend.

some more images of the weekend…..

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