Key to Lavery painting

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2010), Letters, Revolutionary Period 1912-23, Volume 18

Sir,—I read with great interest Angus Mitchell’s article on Sir John Lavery’s High Treason (HI 18.5, Sept./Oct. 2010). The key to the painting identifies the solemn man seated next to Casement in the dock simply as ‘Dowling’. Who is this man? Certainly this is not the same Dowling of Casement’s Irish Brigade who landed in Ireland in 1918. The date of the trial and the date of his landing don’t match. Was this key provided by Sir John Lavery? If not, by whom?—Yours etc.,

The key was provided by John McGuiggan in his article about the painting in Irish Arts Review (1999). Controversy lingers about the identification of several of the named figures, most notably the three women sitting in front of the prisoner in the dock. ‘Dowling’ was apparently guarding the prisoner.

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