Completed Northern Ireland: Artists and Subjects, Sculpture 12 Could the artist be Carolyn Mulholland?

NID_QUB_BELIS_QUB_347_001
Topic: Artist

This is signed CM on the back. Could the artist be Carolyn Mulholland (b.1944)?

One of Mulholland's portraits of Seamus Heaney, in the same collection, is also marked CM: https://bit.ly/2NBLGxe

Her profile is here: https://bit.ly/38h4WIg

Andrew Shore, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. Carolyn Mulholland has confirmed that she made the portrait of Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly and cast it in bronze.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion and helped us to trace her. To anyone viewing it for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.

11 comments

Kieran Owens,

Mr. Turco, the plate clearly reads "Cardinal Cahal B. Daly".

Osmund Bullock,

It's hard to assess it on stylistic grounds, so varied is Carolyn Mulholland's output. But according to her very full CV in the catalogue for the 2000 Carlow Art Festival, she did indeed sculpt a portrait of Cardinal Daly in 1996: https://bit.ly/2Rr7Zqx (Go to page 17 of the pdf, which is not word-searchable).

With the right sitter, the right date and the right initials there is no doubt in my mind that Andrew's suggestion is correct.

Kieran Owens,

The artist Carolyn Mulholland has confirmed to me by email that this 1996 bronze bust of Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly is her work. It, and the one in St. Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, was cast at the Bronze Art foundry, on Gaelic Street, Dublin. - http://bronzeart.ie

Unlike some, this one is quickly wrapped up, the sculptor in question Carolyn Mulholland being very much alive and able to answer for herself. It has been noted that while she has a distinct style it is also very varied, and attributions on style alone might not be easy for future generations. The polychromatic patination of the bust and the post-casting additions of spectacles and pectoral cross and chain place it firmly in the late 20th Century. An early example of attempts to animate a bronze in this way was Elizabeth Frink's portrait of Sir John Pope-Hennessy (1975–1977), when a pair of his own spectacles were added to the finished portrait.

The case clearly demonstrates what is a perennial problem, particularly for sculptors: the failure of collective memory when it comes to names, and a scant regard for record keeping.