Redcoat & Revolutions: Richard St. George in America and Ireland
Opens September 28, 2019 through February 17, 2020
Free with Museum Admission
What can a life tell us about an era? Redcoat & Revolutions: Richard St. George in America and Ireland will present the story of the trans-Atlantic impact of the American Revolution through the eyes of a young Irish officer in the British Army, Richard Mansergh St. George. His dramatic and tragic personal journey through the Age of Revolutions will be brought to life with rare works of art, historical artifacts, maps, and manuscripts from museums and private collections in Ireland, England, Australia, and the United States.
The exhibition is anchored by famous portraits from English painter Thomas Gainsborough and Irish painter Hugh Douglas Hamilton, which will be on display together for the first time ever in the United States.
About the Portraits
Thomas Gainsborough’s 1776 oil painting of a teenaged St. George depicts him just before he shipped out for New York to fight against the growing American Revolution. The portrait is on loan to the Museum from Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne).
Hugh Douglas Hamilton’s 1795 oil painting shows a grief-stricken St. George mourning at his wife’s tomb. Hamilton painted this portrait as a movement for Irish independence, which St. George opposed, was on the rise. The portrait is on loan to the Museum from National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.
Portraits Loaned By
National Gallery of Ireland
National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne)
About Richard Mansergh St. George
Born into the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, Richard Mansergh St. George’s childhood coincided with Great Britain’s stunning victory over France and Spain in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the vast expansion of the British Empire across the globe. St. George fought to defend the empire from American Revolutionaries in 1776 and 1777, but was severely wounded at the Battle of Germantown, just outside of Philadelphia.
He returned to Ireland because of his wound and found his native country roiled by the effects of the American Revolution. As the revolutionary spirit swept from America to France in the 1780s and 1790s, many in Ireland began dreaming of independence and republican government for their country. In 1798, Irish Revolutionaries killed St. George because he rejected Irish independence.
St. George’s tumultuous life and experiences are exceptionally well documented through surviving artwork (including some of his personal sketches), poetry, manuscripts, and historical artifacts. These materials, now scattered across three continents, will be reunited in Redcoat & Revolutions for the first time to present a rich and complex view of Britain, America, and Ireland in the Age of Revolutions.