Crawford Art Gallerypermanent collection

The Goldfish Bowl
The Goldfish Bowl
c. 1900
Irish School
76 x 64cm

Cat. No. 85-P

Gibson Fund Acquisition, 1925
The Goldfish Bowl, painted c.1900, is one such picture. It and Osborne's other scenes of girls in interiors, building a house of cards, or relaxing in a sunny garden poignantly evoke a quiet, turn-of-the-century world. Osborne was a bachelor, but his sympathy for, and warmth towards, women and children, is evident in his paintings. In The Goldfish Bowl, his niece Violet Stockley is portrayed with short hair and pinafore. She and the older girl sit with hands gently touching, absorbed in watching the goldfish. By this date, an impressionistic influence is apparent in Osborne's work, in the skillful rendering of light on the girls' dresses and the bravura painting of bowl and goldfish. His loose brushstrokes, and his affection for children, is reminiscent especially of Berthe Morisot's sensitive impressionist paintings. Sadly, Osborne's career was cut short by his early death in 1903.

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Walter Frederick Osborne RHA
1859–1903
Irish School

Walter Osborne was born in Dublin in 1859, the son of animal painter William Osborne. He studied at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, then at the Academie Royale in Antwerp, from 1881 to 1883.

In Brittany he painted realistic studies of women and girls in the market place or orchard, and then worked for a period in England. Returning home, he painted street scenes, genre subjects and landscapes in and around Dublin. From an early age, Osborne became one of Ireland's most highly regarded young artists, and he also exhibited in England. Although he had to accept portrait commissions in order to earn his living, Osborne still found time to paint intimate family groups, both among the working people and professional middle classes of Dublin.