National Drawing Day 2014: The work of Mary Herbert

National Drawing Day

You may or, more than likely, may not know that Saturday the 17th of May 2014 is National Drawing Day on this fair isle. Well it is. And to celebrate this day The Schoolhouse in Muckross is hosting a special talk focusing on the artistic work of Mary Herbert, a 19th century watercolour painter famed for her stunning landscape paintings of Kilalrney. She was married to Henry Arthur Herbert who is significant as he is the man responsible for the building of Muckross House.

Born Mary Balfour to an aristocratic family in Scotland in 1817, she married Henry Arthur Herbert in 1839 and moved with him to Killarney. 19th century marital custom dictated that the woman must bring a dowry with her when she was being married and, as her family were very wealthy, Mary brought a very sizeable dowry which helped to build Muckross House. Mary adored Muckross as it reminded her of childhood in Scotland and in particular the Highlands.

She began painting as soon as she arrived in Kerry and quickly established a reputation as one of Ireland’s most talented amateur artists. Indeed, Queen Victoria was the recipient of a collection of Mary’s landscape paintings when she visited Killarney in 1861. Mary painted many of Killarney’s famous features and ruins including Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe and Muckross Abbey. She moved to London with her two daughters in 1866 after Henry Arthur died but always retained a great love for Killarney and especially Muckross. Indeed, she once remarked that she “had only to close her eyes to be in Muckross”. She died in 1893 and was buried in Killegy Graveyard in Muckross alongside her husband.

The talk will be hosted by Ronnie Moore who is a well-renowned local watercolour artist herself and, like Mary, has painted many of Killarney’s famous scenes. There will be a collection of Mary’s work on show as well as Ronnie’s and there’ll be tips on painting techniques and tricks. As if all that wasn’t enough admission is totally free so you really have no excuse not to attend. It all kicks off at 1pm on Saturday the 17th May in the Schoolhouse in Muckross. For more information or directions check out