Lily Williams ARHA (1874-1940) Hibernia Pastel, 65.5 X 42 (25.75 X 16.5'') Signed This is an important early pastel by the artist Lily Williams whose work rarely appears on the open market. Williams grew up in a progressive Presbyterian household which nurtured her artistic talents from an early stage. Having trained under May Manning and then, at The Royal Hibernian Schools, under Walter Osborne her loose impressionist style was allowed to develop alongside that of her immediate contemporaries, Beatrice and Dorothy Elvery, Grace Gifford and Estella Solomons the latter two of whom would have heightened her awareness of the Gaelic revival and it's accompanying Nationalism. Her family home at 104, Marlborough Road hosted ''literary afternoons'' which were attended by the likes of lifelong friend Arthur Griffith. In Protestant Nationalist circles Griffith was popular for his provocative non-violent policies. Williams is best known for her subtle pastel portraits of leading Nationalists of the day, including Griffith, Padraig Colum and The O'Rahilly. At Griffith's request she also designed 'stamps' for Sinn Féin in 1907. They were to be placed alongside official stamps and had the dual purpose of raising both funds and the profile of Sinn Féin. One of the two 'stamp' images designed by Williams was of the romantic Cathleen Ni Houlihan, a personification of Ireland also used by Sir John Lavery and ultimately found on the old one pound note. It is this Nationalist ethos which permeates 'Hibernia'. The beautiful figure, seated and alert, writes with a quill on to parchment draped in the tricolour. She personifies the national awakening and is as anonymous as she is all embracing, an icon for her times. Comparisons can be made between ''Hibernia'' and a work by fellow art student Beatrice Glenavy entitled 'Eire' executed by Glenavy in 1907. For further information on Lily Williams please refer to the feature on her ''Comrades and Friends'' by Hilary Pyle Irish Art Review Summer 2013.