Donated by the Trustees of the Gallery
Robert Wyse Jackson was something of a polymath, known for his landscape painting and political cartoons, his expertise on Irish silver, his fiction and historical studies including a book about Jonathan Swift, a legal practice and a successful career within the Church of Ireland. He took part in the Festival of the Maigue Poets where he won prizes for his limericks and often illustrated his writing with ink drawings. A native of County Offaly, and educated in Tipperary, Drogheda and Waterford before taking up the study of law at TCD, he became a barrister but gave up his legal practice to enter the Church. He became rector of Saint Michael’s Parish, Limerick and in 1946, Dean of Cashel. Fifteen years later he became Lord Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe and in 1970 he was made a Freeman of Limerick. Robert Wyse Jackson was an active member of the WCSI and founder member of the Limerick Arts Club, now the Limerick Art Society. He had solo exhibitions at Molesworth Hall, Dublin, Thomond Antiques Gallery, Limerick and in Cashel. He exhibited at the RHA just once in 1970, the year in which he retired from his bishopric and moved to Greystones, County Wicklow. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Tom Ryan PRHA recalled that Bishop Wyse Jackson, known as ‘Boney’, opened his first exhibition and described him as a very popular figure who ‘wore the leggings, apron and tied-down hat of a Church of Ireland senior ecclesiastic and rode a powerful motorbike in that outfit’.Wyse Jackson had a solo exhibition in the former Bishop’s Palace in Cashel, by then the Cashel Palace Hotel, in 1973, when he may have painted this oil painting. As a committed conservationist and a member of the RSAI he would have been aware of the many depictions of the historic Rock of Cashel with its cluster of medieval buildings. One of the most picturesque as well as historically significant landmarks in Ireland, the Rock of Cashel is usually presented dominating both the town of Cashel and the surrounding countryside and was represented by Wyse Jackson in this manner in an earlier watercolour (Crawford Art Gallery, 1935). Here it appears tamed and domesticated, set back from the splendid gardens of the former palace in the foreground. Although painted in oil on board, it has many of the features of a watercolour, broad sweeps of paint, very light-handed and fluid, and with little detail.