Aran Fisherman’s Drowned Child


Mid-19th century watercolour artist, Frederic Burton was born in Corofin, Co. Clare where his family had earlier settled as landowners. Although he initially focused on portraiture and subject painting, he is best known for The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, a painting which was voted Ireland's favourite painting by the public in an RTE television documentary in 2012.

The popular painting was inspired by a Danish ballad which tells the violent story of ill-fated lovers Hellelil and Hildebrand. Burton's painting on the contrary shows an imagined tender clandestine meeting of the couple on a spiral turret stairs. Another of Burton's well-known paintings is 'Aran Fisherman's Drowned Child' which sensivtively reflects the customs, folklore and traditions of pre-famine Connaught.

He spent time in Germany in the 1850s, a period which influenced a body of work which he exhibited at the Old Water Colour Society in England. Burton went on to become Director of the National Gallery in London, appointed by Prime Minister William Gladstone and remained in the post for 20 years. He died in Kensington in March 1900 and is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin.

Reproductions of some of his paintings including an unfinished drawing 'A Venetian Lady' can be seen in a special exhibition at St. Catherine's Church, Corofin..

Commission a Family History Report Order Now