Irish Distillers donates historic letters to the National Gallery of Ireland

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Irish Distillers has donated a historical record of correspondence between Andrew Jameson and Augustus John, the greatest portrait painter of his day, to the National Gallery of Ireland.

The correspondence relates to a portrait of Andrew Jameson, John Jameson’s great-grandson, which was commissioned but never completed.

The portrait was intended to equal those of Bow Street founder John Jameson and Margaret Haig painted by Sir Henry Raeburn, which are now on display in the National Gallery of Ireland. Although Andrew’s portrait was never completed, correspondence between the two men, which dated from October 1938 to June 1940, was held in the archives of the Irish Distillers and donated to the National Gallery in 2020.

Carol Quinn, Head of Archives at Irish Distillers, said: “We are proud and delighted to share these letters with the National Gallery of Ireland. The Jameson family have been steadfast supporters of the arts for generations and although Andrew’s portrait was never completed, these letters offer insight into the family’s rich ties to the art world.

Leah Benson, Archivist at the National Gallery of Ireland, added: “The National Gallery of Ireland has a rich and wonderful collection of art on its walls, but letters like these are crucial for us to understand the stories that hide behind art. and the artists who create it. Augustus John was considered one of the best artists of his time in his region. The generous donation of these letters to our Irish Distillers archives can only help us add to his story and that of the Jameson family’s connection to art.

February 15, 2022 marks the 81st anniversary of the death of Andrew Jameson. In the 1920s, Andrew Jameson commissioned Harry Clarke to illustrate two brochures detailing the founding and expansion of the business. Copies of the booklets ‘The Story of a Great House’ and ‘Elixir of Life’ are on display at Jameson’s Brand Home in Bow Street and have also been exhibited at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork.

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