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Posts Tagged ‘sketches’

I was poking about in Tallaght Library last week, looking for a desk close enough to a socket that I could plug in my dead-batteried laptop without creating a sort of German-jumps-over-flex effect for other library users. I poked my way into a corner and found the appropriate socket near some books on Auld Dublin, so I abandoned checking my email in favour of a rifle through. I found there two or three beautiful folio-sized books of sketches by Liam C. Martin – Liam C. Martin’s Dublin Sketch Book with an introduction by Terence de Vere White, Liam C. Martin’s Dublin Shopfronts and Street Scenes with an introduction by Benedict Kiely, and In Dublin Again with Liam C. Martin, introduced by I can’t remember who.

Dublin Sketch Book

Liam C. Martin's Dublin Sketch Book

I’d never heard of Liam C. Martin before, but his drawings are gorgeous, and record the best bits of Dublin of the sixties and seventies, shortly before the city was munched up and spat out by bulldozers – and in fact Terence de Vere White writes in his introduction to the Sketch Book

“I recommend these drawings, therefore, not only for the pleasure they give the eye but on account of the stark necessity of preserving in line what the bull-dozer threatens. We need an army of Martins.”

Sadly, there was no such army, but what he has preserved in line is worth looking at: the Gasometer, Camden Street, the Old Gaol in Smithfield, the demolition work in Fitzwilliam Street, Horseman’s Row (no longer in existence), Winetavern Street. Some of the drawings are more finished than others, but it’s that sketchy feel that I like, the sense of the artist passing through the cityscape like the shoppers who flit out of the foreground of Camden Street. In fact the interiors – The Long Room, Trinity College, or the Interior of Marsh’s Library, are lovely too, but feel somehow more ordinary. The whole collection of sketches would be a richer representation of the city than the endless reproductions of the Custom House, Trinity and the Four Courts, graceful and well-proportioned as they are.

I Googled and Amazon’d and ABE’d and all the rest, naturally, and the books seem rare enough, fetching at least a hundred or a hundred and fifty euro each, some more, so if you’re near Tallaght, duck in and have a snoop. Liam C. Martin’s Legal Dublin, which I’d like for the lawyer in my life, I could only find for 175 dollars; I’d settle for the elusiveĀ Medical Dublin if I could get it at the right price. I did manage to get the Dublin Sketch Book, just 20 pages, an Irish Georgian Society special edition printed by The Dolmen Press, for 20-odd euro, and I’m ready to negotiate for any of the rest of Liam C. Martin’s work.

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