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Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, R.A. 1890-1978.

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A Ballynakill Woman. 1926. Etching. Fletcher 53. Published state. 5 3/8 x 4 1/8 (sheet 10 5/8 x 8 1/2). Printed on 'ENGLAN[D]' countermarked cream laid paper with full margins. Total edition of 107. Signed in pencil. The woman portrayed was the mother of the two children in The West of Ireland (Fletcher 61). $600.

A Ballynakill Woman portrays a peasant woman from Connemara regarding whom Harold Wright recorded a disturbing note: "Brockhurst told me that the two children (her daughters, depicted in another etching by Brockhurst) were her illegitimate offspring. She was a very rough character and was said to have committed seven murders! I suppose this is all gospel truth? H.W." (inscribed on an impression of her portrait in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).

Whatever her past may have been, she discriminated cruelly between her two daughters, who were the subject of G.L. Brockhurst's poignant etching entitled The West of Ireland (Fletcher 61). She isolated the younger daughter, and lavished attention on her sister. She hacked at the hair of the poor younger girl, cutting her fringe jaggedly in spite, and dressed her in drab clothes, whilst favouring her sister with pretty dresses. Unable to bear this constant rejection, the younger girl threw herself into a lake and drowned.

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