Artist Biographies

Norman Garstin 1847 - 1926

Landscape and figure painter, Norman Garstin was born at Cahirconlish, Co. Limerick in 1847 and was related on his mother’s side to George Moore. His early years were marked with double tragedy when his mother developed a muscular paralysis that deprived her of speech and his father, who was an army colonel, committed suicide. Norman was later raised by his grandparents in a country parsonage near Limerick. He lived for a period in the Channel Islands, later enrolling at Queen’s College, Cork and spent a period working in an architect’s office in London. A period in South Africa followed, at first mining for diamonds and later as a journalist, where he co-founded the Cape Times newspaper. Returning to Ireland, he was blinded in one eye by a thorn bush in a riding accident and ironically from then on, made painting his profession. He studied in Antwerp and later in Paris where he met Edgar Degas and Roderick O’Conor was among the Irish students at that time. Garstin first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1883 and following periods in Italy and Spain, settled in Cornwall where he was a contemporary of Stanhope Forbes. He continued to exhibit widely from his homes in Newlyn and Penzance and his wife, Alethea Garstin, was an artist in her own right. All together he contributed thirty four paintings to the RHA from 1883 to 1916, while continuing to exhibit widely in London and elsewhere. His work is included in the collections of The Crawford Municipal Gallery Cork, The National Gallery of Ireland, The Tate Gallery London and The Victoria and Albert Museum, together with the National Self Portrait Collection Limerick.
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