As a genealogist, I just love finding my ancestors in new (to me) record sets!
|National Library and Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin|
Since my request, a couple of weeks ago, for those ‘in the know’ to tell me more about my maternal grandfather, I've not been disappointed. Many new snippets of information, mostly about his paintings, have come to light, but one little titbit stands out - maybe because I have already found the independent documentary evidence to prove it. Kevin Wynne attended the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, deemed to have been Ireland’s premiere art college (thank you, Anne, for letting me know). While, I was well aware of his artistic leanings, this I did not know (or, perhaps, had forgotten).
Granted, the supporting evidence has long been available online, but I hadn't come across it before. In 2005, the National Irish Visual Arts Library indexed and digitised copy images of the student registers of the Metropolitan School of Art. These date from 1877 to 1936. In 1936, the School became the National College of Art and Design and the registers, for its first fifty years to 1986, were also published online. I easily found my grandfather's name in their database. He was mentioned in twelve separate documents, providing such information as to his age, address, occupation and his semi-annual fee payments.
Students of a life class at work in the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin
In October 1927, Kevin Wynne, then with an address at 21 Upper Rutland Street, enrolled for a drawing or a figure drawing class at the Metropolitan School of Art, where he paid 6s/6d to attend three evenings a week. He signed up again for the academic year 1931-32. The College was situated in Kildare Street, between the National Library and Leinster House (now the seat of the Irish parliament).
Not that I'm name dropping, but William Orpen, Harry Clarke and Kevin's friend Evie Hone, all attended the school at various points over the decades - as well as about 25,000 other budding artists. Even the renowned Irish poet William Butler Yeats, having spent a term or two studying at the school, is listed amongst its alumni.
In October 1938, two years after his marriage to my grandmother, my grandfather returned to pursue his studies at the school. By then, it had been designated the National College of Art and Design. Painting, sculpture and design classes had been added to the curriculum and, in the previous year, Sean Keating was named the Professor of Painting. Maurice MacGonigal was appointed as his assistant. These accomplished Irish artists became my grandfather's teachers.
While living at 3 Buckingham Cottages, Kevin attended the college three or four evenings a week, for four years. He started in October 1938 for three years, took a break for the year 1941-42 and returned for a final year commencing in October 1942. I wonder why he took the year off. Perhaps he had not the heart to enroll in 1941, following the death of his two-month old son, Kevin, in April that year.
- 'National Library, Dublin', Gallaher cigarette card, George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
- Life Class, Every woman's encyclopaedia, vii (London, c.1912) p. 4654, Internet Archive.
- 'Clar-Leabhar na Sgolairi, 1937-42', College Student Registers, Ref. IE/NIVAL CR/CR67/561, National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL).
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