Helen O'Hara 1846 - 1920
Irish watercolour artist and illustrator, Helen Sophie O' Hara was born in Portstewart, Co. Derry in 1846. Well known for her illustrations, in 1877 she illustrated the fairytale book "Prince Ritto" or "The Four Leaved Shamrock", written by her friend and fellow artist, Fanny Curry, who was one of the founders of the Royal Irish Watercolour Society.
Between 1881 and 1892 she exhibited seventeen paintings at the annual exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. These included a number of seascapes and two still life paintings of flowers. She was elected a member of the Belfast Art Society, and became vice president of the society in 1895, and was made an honourary member in 1904, along with fellow Irish watercolour artist, Mildred Anne Butler. Helen O’Hara’s seascape painting "Evening", is now in the Ulster Museum, Belfast and was first exhibited at the Belfast Art Society in 1894.
By 1898, Helen O'Hara's address was given in exhibition catalogues as, The Mall, Lismore, a house that she shared with Fanny Curry. From 1892 until 1913 she exhibited with the Watercolour Society of Ireland. During her career as an artist, she exhibited extensively in England, showing over one hundred of her paintings at the Society of Women Artists exhibitions, the Dudley Gallery, and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.
Typical subjects for her paintings include studies of birds in the branches of trees, a girl picking wild flowers with Lismore Castle in the background, and paintings of woodland paths or country lanes. She also painted numerous seascapes around the coast of Ireland. She died in Co. Waterford on the 27th of January 1920.