Studio & State: The Laverys and the Anglo-Irish Treaty is a co-curated exhibition by Hugh Lane Gallery and the National Museum of Ireland. It marks the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921. The exhibition takes place at the National Museum’s Collins Barracks.
Studio & State: The Laverys and the Anglo-Irish Treaty features for the first time Sir John Lavery’s paintings of the Treaty signatories from Hugh Lane Gallery next to artefacts of the time from the National Museum of Ireland’s collection. Museum objects include the fountain pen reputedly used by Michael Collins to sign the original Treaty document and propaganda handbills.
Studio & State explores events between July 1921, when the Truce was agreed in Dublin, and January 1922, when the Anglo-Irish Treaty was narrowly ratified in Dáil Éireann. It considers the role that John and Hazel Lavery played during the Treaty negotiations and how they negotiated the complex relationships between art, politics and history. The Treaty signatories from both sides sat for Lavery and during the negotiations, his London studio was an informal meeting place, in which Hazel Lavery played an influential role. John Lavery cast himself in the role of artist-diplomat and saw the studio as “neutral ground”.The negotiations for and signing of the Treaty were crystallising moments for Ireland in the twentieth century. The Treaty was both a vehicle of peace as well as a catalyst for civil war. Sir John Lavery’s paintings provide an unparalleled record of this pivotal moment.