the Lily’s guise…

Easter lily by Yanny Peters
‘Easter Lily’ by Yanny Petters  (a painting on glass)

Did you know that in 1926, Cumann na mBan introduced the Easter Lily as a symbol of remembrance for those who died in the Easter Rising?  Previously used as Easter decoration in churches, the lily was said to have sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat had fallen to the ground, in his final hours along the road to Calvary.

I learned this (and much more) from the artist Yanny Petters who has a beautiful piece in the upcoming group exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery.  This exhibition entitled “Republic” is a meditation on the aspirations of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and a commemoration of all those who died in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Olivier Cornet at the front door of the Gallery in Great Denmark Street
Olivier Cornet at the front door of the gallery in Great Denmark Street

The painting by Petters uses a technique called Verre Églomisé and it’s a technique that’s been around since Roman times, and explored anew in the 1920s by the artists of Der Blaue Reiter in Germany (Kandinsky, Marc, Klee, Münter et al).  It involves painting on the back of glass using opaque colours (and sometimes goldleaf). This means that the details and highlights of the painting have to be applied first and the background painted last (tricky, I’d imagine). Petters became interested in this technique while she was working as a signwriter but she uses it these days to produce wonderful fine art as you can see above.

And there’s more –  “I chose to depict the Easter Lily in Verre Églomisé”,  she writes,  “because I wanted to refer to Harry Clarke’s studios in 33 North Frederick Street, just around the corner from The Olivier Cornet Gallery.  The Clarke Studios were damaged during the Easter Rising… My technique picks up on the drawn designs for stained glass, known as ‘cartoons’, the translucence and use of deep blues and the use of seemingly random devices to ‘fill’ small spaces between designs which are part of Harry Clarke’s work… ”

The exhibition is co-curated by Olivier Cornet and myself and it features works by gallery artists:  Claire Halpin, Kelly Ratchford, Yanny Petters and me,  and invited artists: David Fox, Beatrice O’Connell, John O’Grady, Eve Parnell, Mary Plunkett and Lorcan Walshe. We’d be delighted to see you at the opening.  (Eamon Ryan TD of the Green Party will be the guest speaker)

Beidh an taispeántas seo ar siúl go dtí deireadh mí Lúnasa.  Slán go fóill, eoin





  1. I have learned a lot from this blog Eoin, thank you. It a beautiful piece of work enriched by the symbolism. Congratulations on what looks like a very interesting exhibition and I wish you every success with it.


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