Friday, October 28, 2016

Seamus Murphy's sculpture, 'The Onion Seller’ [How Many Are There?]

The 'Seamus Murphy's sculpture, ‘The Onion Seller’ [or mor correctly ‘Mary Anne - The Onion seller’] was cast in bronze in 1937 by sculptor Séamus Murphy. It is a monument to the women dealers in the Coal Quay, Cork City Open Market.

I could be wrong but I am convinced that I have seen this old lady in at least three locations in Cork City and in one of  locations she has been sponsored by McDonalds. Some people are only aware of one and others believe that there might be two while others are convinced that there is only one which has been moved a number of times.

According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage the Onion Seller is located in Winthrop Street - “his bronze figure of a female onion seller by sculptor Seamus Murphy makes a notable and positive addition to the streetscape. Born in Cork county, Murphy studied in Cork and Paris and later became Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Hibernian Academy. This small scale figure is of apparent artistic design and clearly demonstrates the sculptor's talent. Formerly located in Bishop Lucey Park on the Grand Parade, it was moved to this location in 1995.” They claim that it is dated 1937 set on a marble plinth dating from 1995. I never got a chance to photograph this one so I cannot confirm the date.

Bishop Lucey Park [an especially ugly park] is were I first photographed the Onion Seller. It was dated 1985 and It was presented to the city by Sunbeam Wolsey. The park is often erroneously known as "The Peace Park" by locals, although this name actually refers to the area next to the River Lee at the junction of Grand Parade and South Mall where the National Monument, and the memorials to World War I and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are located.

The second one that I photographed is dated May 1995 and was presented to the city by a MacDonald’s franchsiee. Location: Cornmarket Street.

According to Adam’s:  “Murphy created the plaster version of Mary Anne in 1937. Two bronze versions were cast later, this being one, the other was presented to the Peace Park on Grand Parade, Cork in 1985 where it has remained since”. The one that they refer to is described as follows “Mary Anne - The Onion Seller (1937) Bronze, 91cm high (35.8'' high) Signed and inscribed with title on base Provenance: From the Estate of the late Charlie Hennessy, Cork.” In case you are interested is was sold for €19,000.00 at auction. [asking price 20,000 - 30,000]

Seamus Murphy's sculpture, 'The Onion Seller’ [How Many Are There?]-122489

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