Francis Valerio

Francis Valerio



Beatrice Moss Elvery was the second daughter of a Dublin businessman. She and her sister, Dorothy, attended the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, now the National College of Art and Design. At that time William Orpen was teaching painting and the School. She sat for Orpen and they became life long friends and correspondents. She attended the Sculpture School where her tutor was John Hughes. At the School she won numerous prizes, including the Taylor Scholarship in 1901 and again in 1902 and 1903. In 1903 she joined Sarah Purser as a designer of stained glass in her studio The Tower of Glass. She went on to work as a designer, painter, sculptor and illustrator. In 1912 she married Charles Campbell, 2nd Baron Glenavy. Dividing their time between London and Dublin many of their friends were drawn from a rich literary circle that included Yeats, Bernard Shaw, D H Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield. In 1964 she published her memoirs Today We Will Only Gossip, which includes many anecdotes about her interesting circle of artistic and literary friends. This is the plaster relief Elvery entered for the Taylor Scholarship at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1901. It was given by the artist to her friend and fellow Metropolitan School of Art student, William John Leech. He in turn bequeathed it to his friend and biographer, the poet and art historian, Alan Denson. In 1988 Denson arranged for an edition of 12 bronzes to be cast from this plaster relief. The model, Francis Valerio, was born to Italian parents in Dublin in 1884. He was a regular model at the Metropolitan School of Art for, amongst other, John Hughes and William Orpen. He surely must be the same young model Lady Genavy recalls in her memoirs: “We had a young mole model, an Italian born in Dublin. Instead of retiring into the models’ cubby-hole in the corner of the room during the rests, Hughes encouraged him to associate freely with the students; he didn’t really need any encouragement. Hughes said we must watch the human figure in movement; watch it all the time, not only while the model was posing. So during the rests we all sat on the hot pipes together. When the Inspector of the Board of Education came round, this behaviour led to some shocked comment. Hughes received an official instruction saying that the nude models were not to associate with the young lady students. Hughes was vey angry and replied that he considered it part of the young ladies’ artistic education to become familiar with the naked human form. The Board of Education decided to leave us alone.”


Height 37 cm / 14 "
Width 30.5 cm / 12 "