Signed, M. Condon Art Gallery collection pre-1974

Margaret (Moggie) Condon (1884–1969)
Oil paint on canvas, 59.7 x 49.8
Brendan Long, ‘The day the tenor took a breath’, The Nationalist, Centenary Supplement, 1890 -1990, Clonmel 1990, pp 13/14
Evening Prayer
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Margaret (Moggie) Condon was the lifelong friend and companion of Tommy O’Brien, onetime editor of the Clonmel weekly newspaper, The Nationalist, and more famously the broadcaster of one of Irish radio’s most popular weekly programmes about classical music, ‘Your choice and mine’. Margaret Condon came from a musical family in Clonmel and is credited with having introduced Tommy O’Brien to opera. According to Brendan Long, a longtime friend of both, she was just as well-informed as O’Brien was on the classical voice. In addition to travelling with O’Brien to operas around Europe, she was also a self-taught, amateur painter, a founding member of STAG, and an active advocate for a public art collection for Clonmel. This rather sentimental and conventional interpretation of a praying figure is not unusual among amateur artists. The subject here is a challenging one as the setting is a dark church interior which forces the viewer’s attention on to the head and shoulders of the old woman, saying her rosary. Against that darkness Moggie Condon set herself the task of suggesting a stained glass window behind the figure, without allowing it to dominate the space and at the same time conveying its light effects on the rosary beads in the foreground. The treatment of the face reveals the painter’s limited experience, but it does not take away from the praying woman’s mood of reverence and concentration.