The Story Behind John Lavery's Controversial Painting of Roger Casement

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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


History, 6.4 ART

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Updated / Wednesday, 29 Sep 2021 10:54


Irish painter John Lavery's monumental High Treason, Court of Criminal Appeal: The Trial of Sir Roger Casement 1916 measures ten feet wide by six feet high and engulfs any wall on which it is hung. The painting depicts judges seated on the courtroom bench gazing down at Roger Casement in the dock awaiting the results of his appeal against conviction for high treason and sentence of death for his role in the Easter Rising. While multiple public displays of the painting during the Decade of Centenaries has transformed it into a celebrated and treasured artistic interpretation of a key moment in modern Irish history, controversy surrounded the artwork from the outset.