Patrick O’Sullivan (1940-2015); A Painted Fibre Composition Bust of an Elderly Lady

Origin: British
Period: Mid/Late 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1970-80
Width: 18”
Height: 27.5”
Depth: 14” (all at extremities)
The lead grey painted fibre composition bust of an elderly lady by Patrick O’Sullivan (1940-2015), of generous size and shown half length, with closed eyes in reflection, her hands cupped to her chest, wearing a cardigan, and having a serene disposition, survives from the third quarter of the twentieth century.

There is bird lime and other organic dirt and stains on the bust from exposure in a garden which does make the bust all the more evocative of time. There are no damages or repairs to speak of other than some small loss to one forearm and an area to the reverse where the fibres are showing through.

Born in London to Irish parents in 1940, Patrick O’Sullivan studied at the Carlisle College of Art and Royal Academy Schools in London where he was awarded three Landseer Prizes and three Silver Medals for Sculpture. He exhibited and taught widely in England, where he carried out numerous portrait commissions. After moving to Co. Cork in 1971, he had solo exhibitions in 1978, 1979 and 1980 featuring his work in marble, wood and bronze in Dublin, Cork, and Belfast respectively. He was elected a member of Aosdána in 1982. During the 80s and 90s he held the position of Head of Sculpture at the Crawford College of Art and Design. His work titled ‘City', hewn from Kilkenny Limestone and commissioned for the Cork 800 Sculpture Symposium in 1985 is permanently sited adjacent to Parnell Bridge on the South Mall.  

This well detailed bust wonderfully encapsulates the wisdom and serenity of age…

“Find your grandparents or someone of age
Pay some respects for the path that they paved
To life, they were dedicated…
Now, that should be celebrated.”