Best-known for his depictions of fashionable female costume, James (Jacques) Joseph Tissot’s paintings also reflect the aspirations and insecurities of Victorian society and the emerging experience of the modern woman. This stunning exhibition celebrates a new acquisition Quiet, by Tissot.
The sitter, Kathleen Kelly, later Mrs. Newton, was Tissot’s mistress and muse and inspired some of his most famous paintings. Born in Agra, India, of Irish parents, Kathleen’s story involves an arranged marriage, seduction, single motherhood and her subsequent life in London as Tissot’s mistress.
As a divorcee Kathleen was not acknowledged by society, and Tissot referred to her in the titles of his painting as ‘La Mystérieuse’ and ‘La Belle Irlandaise’. Fascinated by Kathleen’s beauty, Tissot painted her ceaselessly until her early death from tuberculosis, aged 28.
Quiet goes on display in this exhibition with paintings by Cotes, Lavery and Orpen which contrast the role of society beauties and the experience of young women who lived a more fragile existence on the periphery of conventional society.
James (Jacques) Joseph Tissot (1836-1902) Quiet
Accepted in lieu of Inheritance tax by HM Government in 2021 and allocated to Ulster Museum, National Museums NI with the assistance of grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Department for Communities.