Seanad 100, a commission from the OPW

Alice Stopford Green, Ellen Cuffe (Countess of Desart), Jennie Wyse Power and Eileen Costello, the first four women elected to Seanad Éireann in 1922 Photography Dickon Whitehead

In late 2022 I was commissioned by the Office of Public Works to create portraits of the first four women elected to the first Seanad Éireann in 1922. The paintings are now part of the State Collection at Leinster House and hang at the top of the Seanad stairs.

The making of the portraits was a rewarding learning experience for me. Prior to the commission I was unfamiliar with Alice Stopford Green, Ellen Cuffe (Countess of Desart) , Jennie Wyse Power and Eileen Costello. Through my research I discovered four diversely different women who are all equally interesting and who all contributed significantly to the Ireland we live in today.

I would encourage others to learn more about these women and their achievements but in brief words:

Alice was a historian, a nationalist writer, a member of Cumann na Saoirse and a close confident to Michael Collins.

Ellen was a philanthropist and a humanitarian. Anyone familiar with Kilkenny will know her name well as she put in place the hospital, the theatre, factories and businesses that provided jobs and income for its people.

Jennie was a leading suffragist, a founding member of Cumann na mBan and later Cumann na Saoirse. She was active during the Easter Rising and the War of Independence.  It was at her shop on Henry St that the proclamation was signed before being brought to the GPO. She was also Vice President of Sinn Féin.

Eileen Costello was also a member of Cumann na Saoirse. She was a collector of Irish songs and music for Irish Schools and Gaelic League classes. She had a strong voice in the Seanad, promoting and pushing for equality for women.

They were women with great presence of mind, determination and a heartfelt commitment to Ireland and its people. In painting them I have tried to reflect these qualities and bring colour and vivacity to their images and the way in which they are remembered. The format of the portraits is intimate, an invitation to meet with them face to face as individuals.

I feel most grateful to have been given the opportunity to play a part in honouring them and the formal acknowledgement of their contribution to The Seanad by the addition of their portraits to the walls of Leinster House. 

Seanad Eireann hosts commemoration to mark centenary of Upper House…… Picture shows Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann Senator MarK Daly with Visual artist Emma Stroude with her portraits of Alice Stopford Green, Ellen Cuffe (Countess of Desart) ,  Jennie Wyse Poser and Eileen Costello in Leinster House after the Centenary sitting in the Dail chamber of Seanad Eireann. Pic Maxwell’s

Seanad Eireann hosts commemoration to mark centenary of Upper House…… Picture shows visual artist Emma Stroude with her portraits of Alice Stopford Green, Ellen Cuffe , (Countess of Desart) , Jennie Wyse Power and Eileen Costello in Leinster House after the Centenary sitting in the Dail chamber of Seanad Eireann. Pic Maxwell’s

My sincere thanks to all involved, especially Jacquie Moore and her team at the OPW, Aine McCarthy & Medbh Gillard who supported my research and Bespoke & Co. Framers of Kilkenny who framed the work with perfection.

In Plain Sight – Frances Kyle & Averil Deverell at King’s Inns & The Bar of Ireland

In 2022 I became the recipient of the Inaugural In Plain Sight Commission at King’s Inns and The Bar of Ireland. The initiative was developed to celebrate the achievements and enhance the visibility of women in the field of law that have demonstrated significant leadership, influence and contribution to legal practice and education.

The first commission is a double portrait to celebrate the lives and achievements of Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell, the first two women to be called to The Bar in Ireland and the UK in 1921. 

I am truly grateful and honoured to have been awarded the opportunity to highlight the achievements of Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell. They blazed a trail for women against the backdrop of the struggle for women’s rights and during a volatile period of Irish history. I hope that bringing a new focus to their lives and legacy will encourage the women of today interested in pursuing a career in law.

Susan Ahern BL and Aoife Farrelly BL Talk About The Commission

Mary Griffin – CEO & Under Treasurer King’s Inns, His Honour Judge Dara Hayes – Judge of the Circuit Court and Renate Ní Uigín – Librarian King’s Inns discuss the purpose of the portrait

Follow the link below to hear an interview with me where I talk about the process of the commission and my experience of making the double portrait of Frances Kyle and Averil Deverell.

Artist Emma Stroude In Conversation – In Plain Sight Commission The Bar Of Ireland

RHA Annual Exhibition 2022

There’s not long left now to get to the RHA to devour the visual feast for the eyes that is the Annual Exhibition 2022. This year I have two paintings in the exhibition (a first for me!) ‘Within The Guidelines’ and ‘Angelique’ pictured below. Don’t miss it! All works can be viewed and purchased via the viewing rooms…. just follow this link RHA VIEWING ROOMS

Emma Stroude – ‘Within The Guidelines’, Oil on Canvas, 70cm x 50cm, currently showing in the RHA 192nd Annual Exhibition, Dublin

‘Angelique’ – Oil on canvas, 25cm x 20cm, 2022

I was honoured to be among the artists mentioned in the Aidan Dunne’s review of the exhibition in The Irish Times. Read it here:

 RHA annual exhibition: Sprawling, unpredictable vitality

Lapis Lazuli

Hamiton Gallery in Sligo invited 17 artists to respond to the WB Yeats poem Lapis Lazuli for an exhibition running during the summer of 2022.

Follow this link to read the poem Lapis Lazuli

Follow this link to see the entire exhibition

This was my response and the resulting work:

The threat of war flows beneath the lines of the poem, leading me to consider the human necessity to find a way to exist within chaos and tumult ; to find a balance and a way to carry on living when faced with change and adversity. I looked for a way to describe these moments of calm amidst turmoil. In extension to this, studying the poem made me contemplate how we may experience degrees of emotions related to trauma, tragedy and despair through art while safely remaining the viewer. These emotional experiences are linked with empathy and may gently prepare us for the challenges life holds. The figures in my work are not actually falling, descending into despair or experiencing discomfort and hardship while trying to rise up again but they perform the fall, dance the descent and act out the struggle to rebuild.

‘Performing The Fall’ , Oil on canvas, 70cm x 70cm, 2022

‘Rebuild’, Oil on canvas, 70cm x 70cm, 2022

‘Dancing The Way Down’, Oil on canvas, 70cm x 70cm, 2022

The visual source material for this work was gathered during research sessions with performing artists Angelique Ross, Emmen Donnelly and Michelle Thoburn. This work was supported by The Arts Council of Ireland Agility Award.

‘Fifteen’ An Article by Angela Griffith in the Irish Arts Review

An article on ‘Fifteen’ written by Angela Griffith for the Irish Arts Review Winter Edition 2021

I am very proud to be able to say that my portrait ‘Fifteen’ won the Irish Arts Review, Ireland-U.S.Council Award for Portraiture at the Royal Hibernian Academy’s annual exhibition this year. Part of the award is an article featuring the portrait in the Irish Arts Review and here it is!

I was interviewed by Angela Griffith (author of the article) from the Department of Art & Architecture, trinity College, Dublin. The conversation we had was a rare opportunity for me to discuss my work with someone who possesses such a breadth of knowledge and it offered me much food for thought regarding my work, my practice and the wider context. She has written a carefully considered and insightful piece. It is an honour indeed to see my work presented in this way and one that I am truly grateful for.

Cover of The Irish Arts Review Winter Edition 2021

Exhibition Online

Emma Stroude, Tumble Series, 2020

Standing in the same space as a work of art can be such a powerfully moving experience and when the gallery doors closed across the country for the first time I knew I would miss it but I never imagined just how much. Thankfully we know now that the doors will open once more and we will all flood back in to the galleries and museums to stand mesmerised again by the pieces that just wont let us pass them by without stopping to question. Until then online exhibitions are keeping us all going and, with that in mind, I have my own small online exhibition in conjunction with Hambly & Hambly of Enniskillen coming up and viewable from December 7th on the Imagine Facebook Page.  Until real life shows are possible again I hope you enjoy this virtual one.

Curious at The Kildare Gallery, October 5th – 27th

Street Life, Oil on Canvas, 50cm x 50cm, 2019


I’m really looking forward to the opening of Curious this Saturday October 5th at The Kildare Gallery, Carton House, Maynooth. I would love to welcome you there!

‘Emma Stroude’s new body of work ‘Curious’ explores the spectacle of coloured smoke and powder clouds and the diversity of their use for celebration, entertainment, protest, alert or a call for help. The inhabitants of each painting choose to ignore, react, record, engage with or even act as the instigators of these clouds of colour and the situations they create. Our human involvement and response to this spectacle is the curious question.

The work is loaded with layers of suggestion and possibility which may be interpreted differently by each individual viewer depending on personal history and the influence of the collective consciousness being created amongst us from our exposure to the world via the media.’

Colour Run, Summer 2019

Colour Run – The Crowd, Oil on Canvas, 50cm x 50cm (Photography Dickon Whitehead)

Colour Run -Stragglers, oil on canvas, 50cm x 50cm, currently on show in the RHA 189th Annual Exhibition, Dublin.
Photography Dickon Whitehead 2019

‘Colour Run – Stragglers’ and ‘Colour Run – The Crowd’ marked the beginning of a new body of work under development in 2019. 

The two paintings were well received. ‘Colour Run – Stragglers’ was selected for the 189th Royal Hibernian Annual Exhibition and ‘Colour Run – The Crowd’ was selected for Cairde Visual at The Model, Sligo where it won the Cosgroves Delicatessen Award. Both works will enter private collections following the close of each exhibition.

Following their success I find myself chasing new leads and teasing out new threads of ideas that emerged from the making of these paintings. I am now working towards a solo exhibition at The Kildare Gallery in Carton House, Maynooth in September 2019.

Hamilton Gallery on Tour! St.Brigid’s Day – 90 women’s response to the work of Leland Bardwell

Hamilton Gallery in Sligo invited 90 women artists to respond to a Leland Bardwell poem in celebration of her life and legacy. 

St. Brigid’s Day 1989 – Leland Bardwell

The women’s calls
go up across the lake.
On this still day their voices
whip the air – staccato notes
behind the reed-hushed margin.

Winter is writing out its past
before its time
while they trail the shore
anxious to garner reeds
for Brigid’s Cross, bending
in all their different flesh-shapes
like shoppers to admire a bud,
an early primrose, a robin
shrilly calling to its mate.

Although I gather rushes
like these strolling women
I’m made conscious
of the decades that divide us
and that I should be celebrating
Brigid in her strength
of fruitfulness and learning.

I can only offer her the satchel of these years,
I too, will make a cross, for luck and irony.
Amongst the witches coven I will raise my glass
so my children’s children’s children
will gather rushes for her turning.

This was my response:

Follow, oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm, 2018 Photography Dickon Whitehead

‘Follow’ centres on the notion of womanhood and the sisterhood women share regardless of nationality, culture or creed. Brigid is found in many cultures. For me she signifies intelligence, courage, determination, nature and creativity. My choice of model for the portrait embodies all these qualities communicating them to us via her gaze. She is old enough to be a mother but young enough to be a daughter subtly suggesting the passing on of these strengths through the generations.

The exhibition began in London at The 12 Star Gallery in Europe House for Brigid’s Day and subsequently travelled to Sligo and Dublin in Ireland. It’s next destination is The Irish Embassy in Berlin, Germany where it will form a focal part of their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and remain on display until April 26th 2019.

Follow the link to see the rest of the work in the exhibition:
St. Brigid’s Day Exhibition 90 women artists’ response to the work of Leland Bardwell

My Portrait of Michael Collins Revealed at Sligo Gaol

Michael Collins Portrait in Sligo Gaol 2018

On Sunday 9th September my portrait of Michael Collins, commissioned by Friends of Sligo Gaol and funded by Creative Ireland was unveiled by his grand niece Mary Clare O’Malley. This was an experience I will treasure for all time. My heartfelt thanks to the Friends of Sligo Gaol for including my work in their wonderful event in commemoration of the 100 years since Michael Collins was imprisoned here in Sligo. The gaol is a historical treasure that must be preserved and the events of this weekend have underlined that for us all.

The making of the portrait was funded by Creative Ireland.

On Saturday 8th September our event made it to the evening news! Here is the link:

RTE News Six One Report by Eileen Magner