This month the National Gallery in Dublin acquired a new painting by John Lavery, 'Her First Communion' a beautiful portrait of the artists daughter.
Lavery often painted those he was closest to and Eileen who was his only daughter of his first wife Kathleen, was a popular subject. This painting and a later one of Eileen holding her own daughter are often compared as they demonstrate the influence of Whistler on the artist.
A small oil sketch of 'Her first communion' is held in the collection of the Ulster museum. In viewing both, one can see how the artist works out his compositions and handling of the paint, in fact Whistlers influence is perhaps more evident in the sketch as Lavery concentrates on the tonal changes of white and grey in the gown and veil, reflecting the muted colour palette often employed by Whistler in his work and the delicacy of the brushstrokes in detailing her face with soft hues of pink.
Both the sketch and the finished painting are a must see for any fan of Laverys work as both present a wonderful insight into how the artist works and how this was influenced, as well as a being a beautiful show of Laverys' love for his beloved daughter.