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  • Sir John Lavery
    Mar 20, 1856 - Jan 10, 1941
  • The Madonna of the Lakes (Center Panel) - Sir John Lavery was an Irish painter best known for his portraits. One of the greatest painters of the late 19th and 20th centuries. During the First World War Lavery was an Official War Artist, and the Imperial War Museum has examples of his work. A portrait of Sybil Sassoon by Lavery is in the Southampton gallery. He donated 39 paintings to what is now the Ulster Museum, Belfast, Ireland.
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The Madonna of the Lakes (Center Panel)
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  • The Madonna of the Lakes (Center Panel)

  • Sir John Lavery
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  • The triptych is an image of delicate beauty and is alluring today. How much more it must have seemed in the industrial grime of wartime Belfast and an area dominated by factories? There was a large factory directly opposite St Patrick’s in 1919; and most parishioners worked in mills. But the story it tells is much broader than that. It speaks of pride in the achievements of the past and in a community rapidly transforming acts as a sign of continuity. Every parishioner knows the painting. It is important too because of the affirmation of the value of the church to which they feel powerful loyalty. St Patrick’s is the church of the largest settled population on Clifton and Donegall Streets and a living bond with the former inner-city Belfast of mill workers, labourers and dockers. It is a point of identity and reference physically and temporally.

    The triptych also stands as a link connecting St Patrick’s and the locality to the once-dominant military tradition: the army had a large presence on North Queen Street for over a century – the area still called “the Barracks” – and the Connaught Rangers both recruited extensively in Belfast, were stationed there, worshipped in St Patrick’s and came to the Pro-Cathedral for a blessing before embarking for Flanders. Lutyens went on to design the Whitehall Cenotaph.

    The Parish very much see the triptych as part of the patrimony of the City of Belfast of which they are the custodians – and not just a religious object or corporate possession. It – and the church in which it sits – is a focus of pride and identity. They tell the story of the faith experience and real lived experience of the poor of industrial Belfast – the inscape of their minds, what was important to them; what actually motivated them; their “optic”; and to what they felt loyalty. The huge church stands as a monument to the anonymous poor whose pennies built it. Most were buried in paupers’ graveyards and have no other physical memorials. The painting is by one of their number who was born here and whose achievements are a focus of pride. As an object of beauty which draws visitors and tourists it has great potential to act as one of the foci of reimagining the area.

    Why settle for a paper print when you can add sophistication to your rooms with a high quality 100% hand-painted oil painting on canvas at wholesale price? Order this beautiful oil painting today! that's a great way to impress friends, neighbors and clients alike.

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Other paintings by Sir John Lavery:

The Green Hammock
The Green Hammock
Portrait of Lady Lavery as Kathleen Ni Houlihan
Portrait of Lady Lavery as Kathleen Ni Houlihan
Spring
Spring
Portrait of Mrs. James V. Rank
Portrait of Mrs. James V. Rank
Sir John LaveryLavery was born in North Queen Street, Belfast, the son of a wine and spirit merchant, but was orphaned at the age of three and for a number of unsettled years wandered between Moira, Magheralin, Saltcoats, Ayrshire and Glasgow. Finally he got a job touching up photographic negatives in Glasgow and attended evening classes at the Haldane Academy of Art there. When a studio he had set up on his own was burned down he used the insurance money to study further in London and Paris (at the Académie Julian). An early work of his was actually hung next to Manet's Bar at the Folies Bergère at the 1882 salon.

He painted at the village of Grès-sur-Loing before returning to Scotland with Alexander Roche. They, and some fellow artists, achieved success as the so-called "Glasgow boys," but Lavery soon moved on to London where he became a fashionable portrait painter with a studio at 5, Cromwell Place and a house in Tangier. He painted everyone from Winston Churchill to John McCormack, and was also commissioned to record the key events of the Irish Civil War; his wife - the American socialite beauty Hazeel Martyn, whose portrait was later used on Irish banknotes - was passionately committed to the Irish cause and had a relationship with Michael Collins. Honours were showered on Lavery, culminating in a knighthood in 1918.

On the occasion of its opening he donated 35 of his paintings to the Belfast- now Ulster - Museum; they include the well-known Bridge at Grès. A triptych of his, The Madonna Of The Lakes (using his wife and step-daughter as models), is in St Patrick's R.C. Church, Donegall Street (where he himself had been baptised). His widow presented a further collection of his works to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin.

He died in 1941, having published an autobiography "Life Of A Painter" the previous year..