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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Dublin people

Friday, August 29th., Dublin.

Hired a taxi for 3 hours and went with O'Connor and Bodkin to search quays in the pouring cold rain. I bought four pictures, two lacquer tables and 3 fine Victorian vases. I went to bed at 5 p.m. and got up at 7 to go to Bodkin's. Good dinner. Goodish talking. Especially from old Miss Purser who had known Marie Bashkirtseff intimately and now, at 75, owns a stained glass factory in Dublin and bosses it herself. 

Sarah Purser (1848 - 1943) was an Irish artist. She was born in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) in County Dublin, and educated in Switzerland and afterwards studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin and in Paris. She worked mostly as a portraitist but was also associated with the stained glass movement, founding a stained glass workshop, An Túr Gloine, in 1903. Some of her stained glass work was commissioned from as far as New York. Through her talent and energy, and owing to her friendship with the Gore-Booths, she was very successful in obtaining commissions, famously commenting"I went through the British aristocracy like the measles." Sarah Purser became wealthy through astute investments, particularly in Guinness. She was very active in the art world in Dublin and in 1923 she became the first female member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

For O'Connor, see also, 'Understanding Einstein' - March 29th., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/understanding-einstein.html

Bodkin is acquiring fine pictures for songs. Fancy getting a Diaz in Belfast for a song. He has a magnificent Bloemart, and a Domenico Feti. And he knows a deuce of a lot. He saved me from buying an alleged oil painting in the style of Poussin by suspecting that it was merely painted on an engraving. The dealer who was quite honest took the backing to pieces and we all examined it, and it was painted on an engraving. Last night's was a mixed dinner - I really believe the first I have been to in Dublin.

Professor Thomas Patrick Bodkin (1887 – 1961) was an Irish lawyer, art historian, art collector and curator. Bodkin was born in Dublin, and graduated from the Royal University of Ireland in 1908. He practiced law from 1911 until 1916 while collecting art privately. Bodkin left the legal profession in 1916 to become a Governor of the National Gallery of Ireland, being appointed Director in 1927. He also served in 1926 on the committee that commissioned the design of the new coinage of the Republic of IrelandBodkin was founding Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham from 1935 until 1952, where he acquired the nucleus of the collection described by The Observer as "the last great art collection of the twentieth century". 

We had a tremendous day today. Journalism & politics in the morning. Race course in the afternoon. Theatre (Irish plays) at night. The Irish race course is very Parisian in appearance, & there are heaps of well-known English people in the train of the Viceroy. Nevertheless the big officials are always followed about and protected by detectives. The English still hold Ireland only by force of arms, & beneath all the gaiety, luxury, honest justice, order, etc. there is always this feeling. 

See also, 'Lady jumpers' - August 27th., http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/lady-jumpers.html

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