An Irish Master and his Protege

29th May 2019

The link between a master and his student is demonstrated in a small selection of Irish landscape paintings being sold at auction in Salisbury on 5th June.

Five oil paintings by Charles J McAuley (1910-1999) depict scenes of the coast and river in Co. Antrim, including scenes of Whitepark Bay and Cushenden. Antrim was McAuley’s home ground, having been born in Gruig, Glenaan, one of the nine Glens of Antrim. Despite the small village where he was brought up being predominantly focused on farming, McAuley’s love of painting drove him on from a young age, and he was soon spotted by James Humbert Craig (1878-1944) who offered him encouragement and influenced his early works.

Unlike McAuley, Craig was born into a family with a painting tradition on his mother’s side, though his father was a tea merchant. Abandoning a career in business, Craig was largely self-taught and painted extensive landscapes of the Irish coast and countryside around him. He had a studio in Cushenden, Co. Antrim, and the Glens of Antrim were among his favourite scenery. The two works included in the sale at Woolley and Wallis on 5th June are a view of the Atlantic from Breechy, and a view of Rosses, Co. Donegal.

Both artists were hailed as revered chroniclers of the Irish countryside, and McAuley was particularly remembered for his gentlemanly attitude and disregard to commerciality where his art was concerned – anybody admiring a painting in his studio was said to often be presented with it as a gift. McAuley himself admitted that he could have had a more successful career had he moved elsewhere, but characteristically stated that he would not have been as happy away from his beloved Glens.

The Modern British and 20th Century Art auction on 5th June includes a wide selection of landscapes by other British and European artists, and the studio collection of sculpture by Fredda Brilliant.

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