Signed at lower right, M L Burke Donated by the artist, 1982
Michael Burke, was a founding member of the South Tipperary Art Group (STAG) in 1968 and later served as its Chairman and Secretary. He also contributed by teaching art to its younger members, in Junior STAG. This was an important service to Clonmel, as art and art history were not taught in some of the secondary schools in the area. He was interested in history, particularly the battle zones of World War I and World War II, which he visited. He was a valued member of the South Tipperary Museum’s Advisory Board for nearly four decades where he contributed to debates on all aspects of the collection in the Museum but especially on the local and historical. He was known in Clonmel for his skill as a cartoonist, which was fed by his wit and his ability to produce images, at short notice, for magazines such as Phoenix.This drawing, of a familiar Clonmel landmark, the entrance to the old Clonmel prison, is skilfully executed, precise and with careful attention to the contrasting textures of the stonework. In keeping with the classical austerity and linearity of academic drawing there is nothing to mitigate the finality and threat that the building posed as part of a harsh justice system in the area. Clonmel Gaol was the site of a memorable song ‘Priosún Chluain Meala, also known in an English version as ‘The Gaol of Cluain Meala’. Father Sheehy (see page no ?) was one of many prisoners hanged on the gallows outside this gate. All that remains nowadays of the building is the gate and part of the adjoining wall.