Shimmering in the Light

Previous posts here have touched upon the marriage of Cecil Baring to Maude Lorillard in 1902 and their purchase of Lambay Island, Dublin two years later. Here they commissioned Edwin Lutyens to restore and extend existing structures as well as design several new ones, leading to the creation of one of the most spectacular architectural mise-en-scènes in Ireland. In 1916 Maude Baring was painted by then-fashionable but now insufficiently appreciated portraitist Ambrose McEvoy, and this picture, now owned by Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, is currently included in an exhibition devoted to the artist at Philip Mould & Company in London. Later the sitter’s daughter Daphne recalled how ‘My mother stood in the small studio in a shimmering embroidered dress, lit partly by the skylight and partly by an electric light bulb placed somewhere near the floor…’ Happily the metallic gauze and silk bodice worn by Maude Baring for her portrait survives, and is also on display in the same show.

For more information on the Ambrose McEvoy exhibition (running until January 24th 2020), see

3 comments on “Shimmering in the Light

  1. James Canning says:

    I very much share the Irish Aesthete’s appreciation of Ambrose McEvoy.

  2. thank you for this post!
    I found impressive how Ambrose McEvoy art is similar to Ambrogio Alciati’s paintings. Part of the same international taste of that time!
    Ireland is not only an island but a also a complex culture linked with a wide range of relations and connections…I hope in 2020 to see a bigger “creolization” of european culture.
    What I love from the Vercelli’s artist Alciati is the Nativity he painted in Brunate, on le Lake of Como.

  3. Deborah Sena says:

    Reminds me of the power of paint over photography to express a lifestyle and personality. But also have to say you are on a roll hitting my family ‘upstairs/downstairs’ connections. I thought Maude’s name sounded familiar. Her first husband was Thomas Suffern Tailer whose sister was Agnes Suffern Tailer Barnett, a NY socialite whose husband was a Civil War General that was a judge for the Lincoln assassination collaborators trial.and later Federal District Attourney in NYC. My Irish immigrant grandmother was their housekeeper. My mother was named Agnes after my grandmother’s employer. But there is also a forgotten artist/painting connection. While researching the NYC townhouse where Mrs. Barnett grew up, I found an Impressionist painting documenting guests arriving for the wedding reception at that address of a Lorillard/Tailer wedding. The artist is better known for his SW landscapes than his East Coast work. If interested, I can find the link to the painting for you.

    By the way, Thomas was named for his Irish immigrant grandfather who made his fortune importing Irish linens.

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