15 February 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Irish Distillers, producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys including Jameson and Midleton Rare, has today marked the donation of a historical file of correspondence between Andrew Jameson and Augustus John, the foremost portrait painter of his day, to the National Gallery of Ireland. The correspondence relates to a portrait of Andrew Jameson, the great-grandson of John Jameson, which was commissioned but never completed.
The portrait was intended to equal those of Bow Street founder John Jameson and Margaret Haig painted by Sir Henry Raeburn, which are now on display in the National Gallery of Ireland. Although the portrait of Andrew was never completed, the correspondence between the two men, which dated from October 1938 to June 1940, was preserved in the Irish Distillers archives and donated to the National Gallery in 2020.
Carol Quinn, Head of Archives at Irish Distillers, said:
“We are proud and delighted to share these letters with the National Gallery of Ireland. The Jameson family has been a consistent supporter of the Arts for generations and although the portrait of Andrew was never completed, these letters offer an insight into the family’s rich connections with the Art world.”
Leah Benson, Archivist at the National Gallery of Ireland, added:
“The National Gallery of Ireland has a rich and wonderful collection of art on its walls, but letters like these are crucial in order for us to understand the stories that hide behind the art and the artists who create it. Augustus John was considered one of the finest artists of his time in his area. The generous donation of these letters to our archives from Irish Distillers can only help us add to his story and that of the Jameson family’s connection to art.”
The 15th of February 2022 marks 81 years since the death of Andrew Jameson. In the 1920s Andrew Jameson famously commissioned Harry Clarke to illustrate two booklets detailing the company’s foundation and expansion. Copies of the booklets titled ‘The History of a Great House’ and ‘Elixir of Life’, are on display at Jameson’s Brand Home in Bow Street and have also been exhibited in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.