65: Eva Henrietta Hamilton (1876-1960)
SELF PORTRAIT, c.1906
oil on board
signed with initials lower right
64 by 51cm., 25 by 20.2 5in.
The eldest of the famous Hamilton sisters of Hamwood, Dunboyne, Eva was educated at Alexandra College, Dublin and began exhibiting at the age of 22 with the WCSI. In 1904 she showed two portraits of her sisters at the RHA, at which institute she was to eventually exhibit 121 works in total. On enrolling at the Metropolitan School of Art, Eva came heavily under Orpen's influence, although the effect was lightened somewhat when she later went on to study under Henry Tonks at the Slade. Eva and Letitia travelled, painted and exhibited together most of their lives, with Eva's work consisting mainly of landscapes and group portraits in which family members feature predominantly. This self portrait of Eva Hamilton, kindly authenticated by the artist's family, shows her sitting upright, poised and directly engaging with the viewer. The confident artist, depicted here in her early thirties, holds her artist's tools naturally in her right hand. Her hair is swept back off her strong, characteristically Hamilton, features with her only adornment being a pair of jade dew drop earrings and matching necklace. Eva Hamilton was an accomplished portrait artist and her sitters included such renowned figures as Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory and Lord Frederick Fitzgerald among others.
We are grateful to members of the artist's family for their help in cataloguing this work.