Portraits of Irish Nationalists by Sir Sydney Prior Hall

Sixty-five portraits of Irish Members of Parliament from twenty-one counties of Ireland appear in the O’Donohoe Archive.[1]  They were drawn in 1888 by artist Sydney Prior Hall during the Special Commission.[2]


Hall, like his colleague William Henry Pike (1850-1908), worked as an artist for the Graphic newspaper.


Gifted: Sydney Prior Hall (left) and William Henry Pike contributed to the Graphic from its inception. Hall also illustrated books, including Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s School Days


Hall’s portraits of Irish nationalists provide a rare glimpse of the men who carried the vision of an independent Irish nation in their hearts.[3]  His gallery, reproduced here, has been ordered by the county associated with the MP’s birth.[4]


From left: Arthur O’CONNOR (1844-1923) son of Dr William O’Connor (1817-1880) of Dingle; John STACK (1845-1897) Listowel, and Jeremiah Daniel SHEEHAN (1847-1929), proprietor of Innisfallen Hotel, Killarney[5]
Carlow & Clare
From left: Carlow: Andrew COMMINS (1829-1916) Clare: Matthew Joseph KENNY (1861-1942)


Left: Timothy HARRINGTON (1851-1910) and Edward HARRINGTON (c1852-1902) 
Top from left: Timothy Daniel SULLIVAN (1827-1914) Donal SULLIVAN (1838-1907) Dr Charles Kearns Deane TANNER (1849-1901) Timothy Michael HEALY (1855-1931) Maurice HEALY (1859-1923) middle from left: William O’BRIEN (1852-1928) Patrick O’HEA (1848-1925) James GILHOOLY (1847-1916) James Christopher FLYNN (1852-1922) John HOOPER (1846-1897) bottom from left: John DEASY (1856-1896) John O’CONNOR (1850-1928) Justin McCARTHY (1830-1912) William John LANE (1849-1924) Joseph Francis FOX (1853-1907)

Derry & Down

From left: Derry: James Edward O’DOHERTY (1848-1932) Down: Henry CAMPBELL (1856-1924) Michael McCARRAN (1851-1902) Daniel CRILLY (1857-1923), born Liverpool, son of Daniel Crilly of Rostrevor, Co Down; Joseph Gillis BIGGAR (1828-1890), Belfast


From left: Patrick Alexander CHANCE (1857-1919) James Joseph O’KELLY (1845-1916) Joseph Edward KENNY (1845-1900) Thomas MAYNE (1832-1915) John DILLON (1851-1927)

Fermanagh, Galway & Laois

From left: Fermanagh: Jeremiah JORDAN (1830-1911) Galway: John Joseph CLANCY (1847-1928) Laois: Denis KILBRIDE (1848-1924) Richard LALOR (1823-1893)


From left: David SHEEHY (1844-1932) William ABRAHAM (1840-1915) John FINUCANE (1843-1902) Francis Arthur O’KEEFFE (1856-1909)

Longford, Monaghan & Offaly

From left: Longford: Thomas QUINN (1838-1897) Monaghan: Joseph NOLAN (1846-1928) Offaly: Patrick Joseph O’BRIEN (c1847/1853-1917)

Roscommon & Sligo

From left: Roscommon: Joseph Richard COX (1852-1934) Luke Patrick HAYDEN (1850-1897) Sligo: Michael CONWAY (1844-1921), born in Leeds, son of Edward Conway of Moylough[6]; Patrick James FOLEY (1836-1914), born Leeds, son of Patrick Foley of Sligo


From left Thomas Joseph CONDON (1850-1943) Patrick Joseph O’BRIEN (1835-1911) James LEAHY (1822-1896) Thomas Patrick GILL (1858-1931)


From left: Edmund LEAMY (1848-1904) Patrick Joseph POWER (1850-1913) James Francis Xavier O’BRIEN (1828-1905) Thomas SEXTON (1848-1932) Jasper Douglas PYNE (1847-1888)


From left: James TUITE (1849-1916) Matthew HARRIS (1826-1890) Thomas Power O’CONNOR (1848-1929)


From left: Sir Thomas Henry Grattan ESMONDE (1862-1935), great grandson of Henry Grattan; John BARRY (1845-1921) John Edward REDMOND (1856-1918) William Hoey Kearney REDMOND (1861-1917)


From left: Charles Stewart PARNELL (1846-1891) Garrett Michael BYRNE (1829-1897)



[1] O’Donohoe Reference IE MOD/C58.  Illustrations of Thomas O’Hanlon MP (1837-1897) and of Bernard Charles Molloy MP (1842-1916) drawn in 1885 also held in this series of the O’Donohoe Archive (IE MOD/C58).

[2] Hall’s depiction of a scene from the Special Commission is held in the National Gallery of Ireland http://onlinecollection.nationalgallery.ie/people/1111/sydney-prior-hall;jsessionid=CE13293ACC7D61AF14A901C4AF220925/objects.

[3] Artist Sydney Prior Hall (1842-1922) was the son of artist Harry Hall.  He married first to Hannah Holland and had Henry Reginald Holland Hall (1873-1930), Egyptologist.  He married secondly, 4th August 1906, to artist Mary Lightbody Gow (1851-1929), daughter of artist James Gow.  Henry Reginald Holland Hall died on 13 October 1930.  Probate to Patrick Martin Hall, son of Ernest Hall and Amelia Kirton Dawson.  My thanks to Marie Huxtable Wilson, Tralee, for genealogical research of above.

Biography at https://www.illustrationhistory.org/artists/sydney-prior-hall.

[4] IE MOD/C58.  Also in this series is held a number of pencil portraits of members of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1888, the year in which it was abolished by act of parliament.   Portraits include chairman James McGarel-Hogg, Lord Magheramorne, son of Sir James Weir Hogg; William Shepherd, Bermondsey; Colonel Donald Munro, Whitechapel; John Runtz, Hackney; Robert Grant Webster MP, St George, Hanover Square; William James Wetenhall, St Pancras; Guildford Barker Richardson, Greenwich; Thomas Morrison Fairclough, St George-in-the-East; William Debenham, St Marylebone; John Robert Jolly JP, Woolwich; Philip Pethick Perry, Fulham; Alexander Hawkes, St George, Southwark; Theophilus William Williams, Lewisham; Edwin Lawrence, Shoreditch; John Bonthron, St James Westminster;  John Abbott, Limehouse; Jubal Webb, Kensington; John Edwin Bradfield, Islington; George Hill, Lambeth; Henry Harben, Hampstead; William Boutcher, Kensington;  John Spencer Plummer Furlong, Islington; Samuel Price, Islington; Frederick George Baker, St Pancras; Thomas Francis Rider, St Saviour, Southwark; George Pitney Meaden, Wandsworth; William Robson, Clerkenwell; William Burnham Garrett, City of London; John Lenanton, Poplar; Frederick Cox, Hackney; William Robbins Selway, Newington; George Edwards, St Marylebone; Edward Rider Cook, Poplar; Peter William Funnell, Lambeth; William Urquhart, Paddington; George Berry, St Luke Middlesex; William Andrews, Greenwich; Colonel Edwin Hughes MP, Plumstead; Thomas George Fardell, Paddington; Alfred Ewin, Bethnal Green; John Jones, Strand; Henry Cushen, Mile End Old Town; Major Frederick Moore Wenborn, Shoreditch; George Phillips, Holborn; Charles Mossop, Chelsea; Andrew Cameron, Wandsworth; Francis Hayman Fowler, Lambeth; William Henry Hewitt, St Giles; George James, St Martin-in-the-Fields; Hon Alan de Tatton Egerton MP, St George, Hanover Square; Benjamin Weir, Wandsworth; Edward Dresser Rogers, Camberwell. 

[5] Innisfallen Hotel Killarney, formerly the Kenmare Arms, was located at 31 Main Street, near Kenmare Place/Bank Place.  Mrs Mary Sheehan died in 1906, at which time it was remarked that ‘Mrs Sheehan of the Innisfallen Hotel, whose husband, Mr Jeremiah D Sheehan, was foremost in every national movement in the district, possessed many excellent qualities of head and heart, and her kindness and generosity to the poor and her employees were observed in a marked manner.’ The hotel was sold in the 1920s. 

[6] Michael Conway was born in Leeds, son of Edward Conway of Sligo.  Founder of Conway’s Civil Service School at 20 East 42nd Street, New York where he worked for about 18 years.  Michael Conway returned to Blackburn about three months before his death; he was buried in Pleasington cemetery, Blackburn, Lancs.  With thanks to Marie Huxtable Wilson, Tralee, for genealogical research.