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Hints for Irish Historical Paintings

Author: Thomas Osborne Davis

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D.J. O' Donoghue

Electronic edition compiled by Beatrix Färber

proof corrections by Margaret Bonar

2. Second draft.

Extent of text: 2040 words


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Text ID Number: E800002-027

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  1. First published in The Nation 29 July, 1843.
    Editions of this text; other writings by Thomas Davis
  1. Thomas Davis, Essays Literary and Historical, ed. by D. J. O'Donoghue, Dundalk 1914.
  2. Thomas Davis: selections from his prose and poetry. [Edited] with an introduction by T. W. Rolleston. London and Leipzig: T. Fisher Unwin (Every Irishman's Library). 1910. [Published in Dublin by the Talbot press, 1914.]
  3. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (ed.), Thomas Davis, the memoirs of an Irish patriot, 1840–1846. 1890.
  4. Thomas Osborne Davis, Literary and historical essays 1846. Facsimile reprint, with an introduction by John Kelly, 1998, Washington, DC: Woodstock Books.
  5. Essays of Thomas Davis. New York, Lemma Pub. Corp. 1974, 1914 [Reprint of the 1914 ed. published by W. Tempest, Dundalk, Ireland, under the title 'Essays literary and historical'.]
  6. Thomas Davis: essays and poems, with a centenary memoir, 1845–1945. Dublin, M.H. Gill and Son, 1945. [Foreword by an Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera.]
  7. Angela Clifford, Godless colleges and mixed education in Ireland: extracts from speeches and writings of Thomas Wyse, Daniel O'Connell, Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy, Frank Hugh O'Donnell and others. Belfast: Athol, 1992.
    Selected further reading
  1. Arthur Griffith (ed.), Thomas Davis: the thinker & teacher; the essence of his writings in prose and poetry. Dublin: Gill 1914.
  2. William O'Brien, The influence of Thomas Davis: a lecture delivered by William O'Brien, M.P., at the City Hall, Cork, on 5th November 1915. Cork: Free Press Office, 1915.
  3. Johannes Schiller, Thomas Osborne Davis, ein irischer Freiheitssänger. Wiener Beiträge zur englischen Philologie, Bd. XLVI. Wien und Leipzig, W. Braumüller, 1915.
  4. Michael Quigley (ed.), Pictorial record: centenary of Thomas Davis and young Ireland. Dublin [1945].
  5. Joseph Maunsell Hone, Thomas Davis (Famous Irish Lives). 1934.
  6. M. J. MacManus (ed.), Thomas Davis and Young Ireland. Dublin: The Stationery Office, 1945.
  7. J. L. Ahern, Thomas Davis and his circle. Waterford, 1945.
  8. Michael Tierney, 'Thomas Davis: 1814–1845'. Studies; an Irish quarterly review, 34:135 (1945) 300–10.
  9. Theodore William Moody, 'The Thomas Davis centenary lecture in Newry'. An t-Iubhar (=Newry) 1946, 22–6.
  10. D. R. Gwynn, O'Connell, Davis and the Colleges Bill (Centenary Series 1). Oxford and Cork, 1948.
  11. D. R. Gwynn, 'John E. Pigot and Thomas Davis'. Studies; an Irish quarterly review, 38 (1949) 145–57.
  12. D. R. Gwynn, 'Denny Lane and Thomas Davis'. Studies; an Irish quarterly review, 38 (1949) 15–28.
  13. N. N., Clár cuimhneacháin: comóradh i gcuimhne Thomáis Daibhis, Magh Ealla, 1942. Baile Átha Cliath (=Dublin) 1942.
  14. K. M. MacGrath, 'Writers in the Nation. , 1842–5.' Irish Historical Studies 6, no. 23 (March 1949), 189–223.
  15. Christopher Preston, 'Commissioners under the Patriot Parliament, 1689'. Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 5th ser., 74:8 (1950) 141–51.
  16. W.B. Yeats, Tribute to Thomas Davis: with an account of the Thomas Davis centenary meeting held in Dublin on November 20th, 1914, including Dr. Mahaffy's prohibition of the 'Man called Pearse,' and an unpublished protest by 'A.E.', Cork 1965.
  17. Theodore William Moody, 'Thomas Davis and the Irish nation'. Hermathena, 103 (1966) 5–31.
  18. Malcolm Johnston Brown, The politics of Irish literature: from Thomas Davis to W. B. Yeats. Seattle (University of Washington Press) 1973.
  19. Eileen Sullivan, Thomas Davis. Lewisburg, New Jersey: Bucknell University Press, 1978.
  20. Mary G. Buckley, Thomas Davis: a study in nationalist philosophy. Ph.D. Thesis, National University of Ireland, at the Department of Irish History, UCC, 1980.
  21. Giulio Giorello, "A nation once again": Thomas Osborne Davis and the construction of the Irish "popular" tradition. History of European Ideas, 20:1–3 (1995) 211–17.
  22. John Neylon Molony, A soul came into Ireland: Thomas Davis 1814–1845. Dublin 1995.
  23. Robert Somerville-Woodward, "Two 'views of the Irish language': O'Connell versus Davis." The History Review: journal of the UCD History Society, 9 (1995) 44–50.
  24. John Neylon Molony, 'Thomas Davis: Irish Romantic idealist'. In: Richard Davis; Jennifer Livett; Anne-Maree Whitaker; Peter Moore (eds.), Irish-Australian studies: papers delivered at the eighth Irish-Australian Conference, Hobart July 1995 (Sydney 1996) 52–63.
  25. David Alvey, 'Thomas Davis. The conservation of a tradition.' Studies; an Irish quarterly review, 85 (1996) 37–42.
  26. Harry White, The keeper's recital: music and cultural history in Ireland, 1770–1970. (Cork 1998).
  27. Joseph Langtry; Brian Fay, 'The Davis influence.' In: Joseph Langtry (ed.), A true Celt: Thomas Davis, The Nation, rebellion and transportation: a series of essays. (Dublin 1998) 30–38.
  28. Joseph Langtry, 'Thomas Davis (1814–1845).' In: Joseph Langtry (ed.), A true Celt: Thomas Davis, The Nation, rebellion and transportation: a series of essays. (Dublin 1998) 2–7.
  29. Patrick Maume, 'Young Ireland, Arthur Griffith, and republican ideology: the question of continuity.' Éire–Ireland, 34:2 (1999) 155–74.
  30. Sean Ryder, 'Speaking of '98: Young Ireland and republican memory'. Éire–Ireland, 34:2 (1999) 51–69.
  31. Gerard Kearns, 'Time and some citizenship: nationalism and Thomas Davis'. Bullán: an Irish Studies Review, 5:2 (2001), 23–54.
  32. Ghislaine Saison, 'L'écriture de l'histoire chez la Jeune Irlande: quelle histoire pour une nation du consensus et de la réconciliation?' In: Centre de recherche inter-langues angevin, Écriture(s) de l'histoire: Actes du colloque des 2,3 et 4 décembre 1999. (Angers 2001) 435-46.
  33. Ghislaine Saison, 'Thomas Davis et la nation irlandaise'. Cercles, 4 (2002), 121–31.
  34. Helen Mulvey, Thomas Davis and Ireland: a biographical study. Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America Press, 2003.
Thomas Osborne Davis Hints for Irish Historical Paintings in , Ed. D.J. O Donoghue Essays, literary and historical. By Thomas Davis. Centenary edition, including several pieces never before collected. Dundalgan Press, Dundalk, (1914) page 112–115


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Created: by Thomas Davis (July 1843)

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Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E800002-027

Hints for Irish Historical Paintings: Author: Thomas Osborne Davis


National art is conversant with national subjects. We have Irish artists, but no Irish, no national art. This ought not to continue; it is injurious to the artists, and disgraceful to the country. The following historical subjects were loosely jotted down by a friend. Doubtless, a more just selection could be made by students noting down fit subjects for painting and sculpture, as they read. We shall be happy to print any suggestions on the subject—our own are, as we call them, mere hints with loose references to the authors or books which suggested them. For any good painting, the marked figures must be few, the action obvious, the costume, arms, architecture, postures historically exact, and the manners, appearance, and rank of the characters strictly studied and observed. The grouping and drawing require great truth and vigour. A similar set of subjects illustrating social life could be got from the Poor Report, Carleton's, Banim's, or Griffin's stories, or, better still, from observation.

The references are vague, but perhaps sufficient.

  1. The Landing of the Milesians—Keating, Moore's Melodies.
  2. Ollamh Fodhla Presenting his Laws to his People. Keating's, Moore's, and O'Halloran's Histories of Ireland—Walker's Irish Dress and Arms, and Vallancey's Collectanea.

  3. p.113

  4. Nial and his Nine Hostages—Moore, Keating.
  5. A Druid's Augury.—Moore, O'Halloran, Keating.
  6. A Chief Riding out of his Fort—Griffin's Invasion, Walker, Moore.
  7. The Oak of Kildare—Moore.
  8. The Burial of King Dathy in the Alps, his thinned troops laying stones on his grave—M'Geoghegan's Histoire de l'Irlande (French edition), Invasion, Walker, Moore.
  9. St. Patrick brought before the Druids at Tara—Moore and his Authorities.
  10. The First Landing of the Danes—See Invasion, Moore, &c.
  11. The Death of Turgesius—Keating, Moore.
  12. Ceallachan tied to the Mast—Keating.
  13. Muirchertach Returning to Aileach— Archaeological Society's Tracts.
  14. Brian Reconnoitring the Danes before Clontarf.
  15. The Last of the Danes Escaping to his Ship.
  16. O'Ruarc's Return—Keating, Moore's Melodies.
  17. Raymond Le Gros Leaving his Bride—Moore.
  18. Roderick in Conference with the Normans—Moore, M'Geoghegan.
  19. Donald O'Brien Setting Fire to Limerick—M'Geoghegan.
  20. Donald O'Brien Visiting Holycross—M'Geoghegan.
  21. O'Brien, O'Connor, and M'Carthy, making Peace to attack the Normans—M'Geoghegan, Moore.
  22. The Same Three Victorious at the Battle of Thurles—Moore and O'Conor's Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores.
  23. Irish Chiefs leaving Prince John—Moore, &c.
  24. M'Murrough and Gloster.—Harris's Hibernica, p. 53.
  25. Crowning of Edward Bruce—Leland, Grace's Annals, &c.
  26. Edgecombe Vainly Trying to Overawe Kildare—Harris's Hibernica.
  27. Kildare ‘On the Necks of the Butlers.’—Leland.
  28. Shane O'Neill at Elizabeth's Court—Leland.
  29. Lord Sydney Entertained by Shane O'Neill.
  30. The Battle of the Red Coats—O'Sullivan's Catholic History.
  31. Hugh O'Neill Victor in Single Combat at Clontibret—Fynes Moryson, O'Sullivan, M'Geoghegan.
  32. The Corleius—Dymmok's Treatise in Archaeological Society's Tracts.
  33. Maguire and St. Leger in Single Combat—M'Geoghegan.

  34. p.114

  35. O'Sullivan Crossing the Shannon— Pacata Hibernia.
  36. O'Dogherty Receiving the Insolent Message of the Governor of Derry—M'Geoghegan.
  37. The Brehon before the English Judges—Davis's Letter to Lord Salisbury.
  38. Ormond Refusing to give up his Sword—Carte's Life of Ormond.
  39. Good Lookerson. Strafford's Letters.
  40. Owen Connolly before the Privy Council, 1641—Carey's Vindiciae.
  41. The Battle of Julianstown—Temple's Rebellion, and Tichbourne's Drogheda.
  42. Owen Roe Organising the Creaghts—Carte, and also Belling and O'Neill in the Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica.
  43. The Council of Kilkenny—Carte.
  44. The Breach of Clonmel—Do.
  45. Smoking Out the Irish—Ludlow's Memoirs.
  46. Burning Them—Castlehaven's Memoirs.
  47. Nagle before the Privy Council—Harris's William.
  48. James's Entry into Dublin— Dublin Magazine for March, 1843.
  49. The Bridge of Athlone— Green Book and Authorities.
  50. St. Ruth's Death.—Do.
  51. The Embarkation from Limerick—Do.
  52. Cremona— Cox's Magazine.
  53. Fontenoy.—Do.
  54. Sir S. Rice Pleading against the Violation of the Treaty of Limerick—Staunton's Collection of Tracts on Ireland.
  55. Burning of Molyneux's famous work.
  56. Liberty Boys Reading a Drapier's Letter—Mason's St. Patrick's Cathedral.
  57. Lucas Surrounded by Dublin Citizens in his Shop.
  58. Grattan Moving Liberty— Memoirs.
  59. Flood Apostrophising Corruption—Barrington.
  60. Dungannon Convention—Wilson, Barrington.
  61. Curran Cross-Examining Armstrong— Memoirs.
  62. Curran Pleading before the Council in Alderman James's Case.
  63. Tone's First Society—See his Memoirs.
  64. The Belfast Club—Madden's U. I., Second Series, Vol. I.
  65. Tone, Emmet, and Keogh in the Rathfarnham Garden.
  66. Tone and Carnot—Tone's Memoirs.

  67. p.115

  68. Battle of Oulart.—Hay, Teeling, Rebellion, &c.
  69. First Meeting of the Catholic Association.
  70. O'Connell Speaking in a Munster Chapel—Wyse's History of Catholic Association.
  71. The Clare Hustings—Proposal of O'Connell.
  72. The Dublin Corporation Speech.
  73. Father Mathew Administering the Pledge in a Munster County.
  74. Conciliation—Orange and Green.
  75. The Lifting of the Irish Flags of a National Fleet and Army.