Markey Robinson

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The late Markey Robinson was one of the most prolific Irish artists.  His quality of output varied immensely but he had a charm which endeared him to fellow artists and collectors alike. He was an eccentric figurative painter who deployed a shoreline motif of white gabled cottages usually people with ‘shawled women’ nearly always
heading towards a village or looking out to sea. While initially his images may well have started out faithfully geographically and topographically located, with the passing of the years this ceased to be relevant since the same Markey would have located a work on your eyelid. Robinson was a loner and erratic in Irish art. The best of his output had a touch of magic about it but he allowed his oeuvre to be undermined through profligacy and carelessness up to a point in the sense that he was not sufficiently respectful of the surfaces upon which he worked. He was a unique character who journeyed into thousand of homes pictorially. I recall being invited to the home of one of President Clinton’s key election strategists in Washington and yes there hung a very large Markey Robinson side by side with some of today’s major contemporary painters. Spotted this example of Robinson’s in Emer Gallery on Antrim Road at weekend.

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.


  1. That’s a really unusual Markey. Lovely painting. My favourite Markey morsel is that he often painted on cardboard. My Dad has a number of his works and they are painted on the back of chicken boxes! Now that is recycling…

  2. Your Markey Robinson comment re. ‘profligacy and carelessness ‘ could be a definition of the late Celtic Tiger that ‘journeyed into thousands of homes’. Keep up the incisive haikus on Irish Art!

  3. His practice of using scraps of cardboard and discarded board is analogous to the modern art historical ‘found object’ and arte povera. The cubists also would use odd scraps and experimented with surfaces. It is not entirely true that he disregarded his surfaces. He might find a smooth piece of card and extol its advantages for painting. And yes, it could be seen as conservationism and in this sense was quite visionary.