Part of the Celebrating a Century series, King’s Inns in collaboration with The Bar of Ireland launched the joint ‘In Plain Sight’ portraiture initiative in November 2021.
In Plain Sight seeks to celebrate the achievements and enhance the visibility of women in the field of law that demonstrated significant leadership, influence and contribution to legal practice and education.
We aim to achieve this by commissioning additional portraiture of female subjects that will hang in the buildings at The Bar of Ireland and King’s Inns, as appropriate, in plain sight.
Commissioning the Portraits
Currently, there is a notable under–representation of female subjects displayed in the collections of The Bar of Ireland and King’s Inns despite the existence of numerous influential women in law.
This joint initiative aims to commission additional portraiture of female subjects from the profession and judiciary, to hang principally along with the existing collection at King’s Inns.
The 2022 Inaugural Commission
Artist Emma Stroude was announced as the 2022 In Plain Sight recipient. Emma completed a commission of Frances (Fay) Kyle BL and Averil Deverell BL, who were the first women to be called to the Irish Bar in 1921 following the enactment of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919.
Emma was chosen following a selection process and in consultation with the Director of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA).
Amongst her various exhibitions both here and abroad, Emma was the 2021 Winner of the Irish Arts Review Ireland–U.S. Council Portraiture Award (pictured). Her work can be viewed at emmastroude.com.
Portrait of Frances Kyle BL and Averil Deverell BL, first women called to the Irish Bar
On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, the first portrait commissioned as part of the In Plain Sight initiative was unveiled. It is a double portrait of Frances Kyle BL and Averil Deverell BL in oil, based on documentary material and research undertaken by the artist Emma Stroude in close conjunction with historian Liz Goldthorpe, librarian Renate Ní Uigin and CEO & under treasurer Mary Griffin of King’s Inns.
Artist Emma Stroude is pictured above with Maura McNally SC, Chair of Council of The Bar of Ireland, and Hugh I Mohan SC, Chair of Council of The Honorable Society of King’s Inns
At the unveiling of the portrait, Hugh I Mohan SC, Chair of Council, The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, said;
“This initiative continues The Honorable Society of King’s Inns’ investment and commitment to the visual arts, as mode to communicate the heritage of the institution and profession, as well as its contemporary understanding.
That we are only now commissioning a portrait of the first female barristers underscores the work that needs to be done in terms of a more representative portrayal of the profession. I look forward to seeing a continuation of this fantastic initiative in the years to come.”
Learn more about the portrait here.
In Plain Sight is intended to be a multi–annual initiative. Donations are welcome through the below link from students, members and alumni of King’s Inns as well as the wider public.
To learn more about the In Plain Sight initiative and to make a donation, please visit lawlibrary.ie/inplainsight.