In Plain Sight: Commissioning a Portrait of Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell
Part of the Celebrating a Century series, The Bar of Ireland and King’s Inns 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 of today and tomorrow.
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.
Among them, Frances (Fay) Kyle BL and Averil Deverell BL were the first women to be called to the Irish Bar in 1921 following the enactment of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919. It is vital that such pioneering women are acknowledged, celebrated and represented.
Donations are welcome through the below link from members of King’s Inns and The Bar of Ireland as well as the wider public.
About the ‘Celebrating a Century’ series
Over 100 years ago, in December 1919, the first piece of equal opportunities legislation entered the statute book. Known as the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, 1919, it enabled women to join the legal, accountancy and veterinary professions and take up senior roles within the civil service for the first time.
Women and men have availed of opportunities created by this and subsequent legislation. As the centenary of the enactment approached King’s Inns were conscious of wanting to mark not only key milestones such as the call to the Bar of the first two women but also the broader societal impact of the legislation.
King’s Inns established the ‘Celebrating a Century’ commemoration programme in 2019 with support from other organisations, principally The Bar of Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland and the Irish Women Lawyers Association. An event series was proposed to recognise the Act’s impact on society over the past 100 years and speculate on what the future might hold for the next 100 years.
Learn more about the Series here.