|The Finishing Touch, James Brenan, 1867|
Recently I saw an article about the auction of this compelling painting depicting an Irish family's preparations for their daughter's emigration to the United States. Of course it made me instantly think of my friends who are researching their Irish ancestry.
The Finishing Touch is an 1867 painting by Cork-born artist James Brenan, which realized €22,000 at auction last month. It was first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in 1867 where it was sold for £35.
The Irish Times wrote, "The artist was alarmed at the devastating scale and impact of post-Famine emigration from his native Munster. His 25in x 30in oil-on-canvas shows the interior of a rural Irish house where a family prepares for the dreaded American Wake – the traditional gathering of family and friends to bid farewell to a departing emigrant. Such occasions lacked the jollity and celebration associated with traditional Irish wakes for the dead."
I wonder which family served as the model for this painting. Interesting, yes?