Frederic William Burton: Meeting on the Turret Stairs

Frederic William Burton is one of Ireland’s major nineteenth-century painters. Left-handed due to a childhood accident, he had a preference for painting only in watercolours.
Two hundred years after his birth, Frederic William Burton is firmly established as one of Ireland’s favourite painters. Acclaimed for being a perfectionist, his attention to detail can be appreciated in one of his major masterpieces: Hellalyle and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs (1864).

Hellalyle and Hildebrand
Source: The National Gallery of Ireland

It is based on a medieval Danish poem that narrates the tale of the heroine, Hellalyle who fell in love with one of her personal guards, the young Prince of Engelland, Hildebrand. Her father, enraged by this forbidden relationship, ordered his 7 sons to kill the prince.
Despite the fact that this poem is rather violent, Frederic William Burton chose to focus on the romantic part of the poem, the last encounter of the unfortunate couple as a main theme of his paint.
Voted Ireland’s favourite painting in 2012, this masterpiece hangs in The National Gallery of Ireland.
Due to the fact that this painting is very fragile, it is housed in a special cabinet with limited viewing times. One of these viewing times is on Thursday from 6-7pm. At about the same time The National Gallery of Ireland is offering free tours around the permanent collection (18.30 – 19.15 pm). Why not kill two birds with one stone?!
Check here for viewing times

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