‘The Last of the MacDonalds’ a sketch by William Orpen.

Pen and Black Ink on Paper: 13 x 8 inches.

Inscribed: ‘The Last of the MacDonalds’.

Current Location: Private Collection.

Provenance: Artist’s Family.

William Orpen and his brother Richard waving goodbye to the MacDonalds who are departing (overdue) to Holyhead. The Orpen’s lived in Stillorgan, which is about six kilometers from Dun Laoghaire.

The location of this drawing is the harbour at Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), where the mail boats of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company would dock. The ferries would run between Kingstown and Holyhead and the fleet of four on this service were named after the four Irish Counties, Ulster, Munster, Connaught and Leinster. ‘Ulster’ written on the stern of the vessel, therefore, most likely identifies the vessel, rather than being a reference to the MacDonalds’ destination or home. However, who the MacDonalds were is not known. It appears from this amusing sketch with its title that whoever they were they had outstayed their welcome!

Post by Dominic Lee.