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WORK OF THE WEEK | 19 May 2020

CAG.3026 George Atkinson, Shannon Scheme No. 2: The Culvert, 1929, etching on paper, 45.5 x 50.4 cm. Presented, 2015.

We’re all about forward motion with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

Shannon Scheme No. 2: The Culvert (1929) is one of a series of etchings by George Atkinson in the collection that document Ireland’s major civil engineering project of the 1920s.

Begun in 1925, construction of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme at Ardnacrusha, County Clare was completed within seven years of the formation of the Irish Free State. A potent symbol of independence and modernity, it also generated huge employment and interest from the public and artists alike, including George Atkinson and Seán Keating.

Derived from drawings the artist made on site c.1927, Atkinson’s series – which also includes Shannon Scheme No. 1: Keeper Mountain and Shannon Scheme No. 3: The Excavations – had been commissioned by the Irish government. Collectively they demonstrate the sheer scale and ambition of the project, which would see the formation of the ESB and culminate in the harnessing of Ireland’s longest river.

Hailing from Cork, George Atkinson (1880-1941) trained at the Royal College of Art, London. In 1917, he was elected a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and subsequently became Director of the National College of Art and Design and Expert Advisor to our Gibson Bequest Committee.

This time last year, Shannon Scheme No. 2: The Culvert (1929) was exhibited at the National Gallery of Ireland – alongside the other two in Atkinson’s series – in MAKING THEIR MARK: Irish Painter-Etchers and the Etching Revival, which was curated by Dr Angela Griffith and Anne Hodge. Prior to the lockdown, it had been displayed as part of our own exhibition, MISE ÉIRE.

Tune in to The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here: 


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