The Permanent Collections

Painting Collection

Walter Osborne –Mrs Litton Falkiner

Mrs Litton Falkiner

Osborne, Walter

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1893, oil on linen, 56.5 x 44 cm (acquired by the gallery in 1948)


Walter Osborne (1859-1903) was born in Dublin. The son of animal painter William Osborne. Like many of the other artists discussed, he moved to Continental Europe to study, spending time in Francebefore moving to England in 1884. He returned to Ireland in the early 1890s, and continued to paint urban scenes, genre subjects and landscapes in the Dublin area. He also went on to teach the young William Leech.

Mrs Litton Falker, was likely a preparation painting for a rather more detailed commission. The work captures a certain liveliness of the sitter, rendering qualities that sometimes become suppressed in more labored works.

Walter Osborne is widely considered to be the only Irish artist who could be legitimately called an Impressionist. His painting style and subject titles have earned him this title. Sadly, he died of pneumonia in 1903 at the early age of  forty-four.

A second portrait by Osborne, entitled Mrs Elizabeth Webb, is included in the Collection. Comparisons have been drawn between Osborne’s work and Sir John Lavery’s (Stars in Sunlight). Similarities have been observed in their styles and subject matter.

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