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Returning to Ireland?
 

Outward Bound
Erskine Nicol
mid 19th century
National Library of Ireland

Erskine Nicol was born in Edinburgh but he taught in Dublin from 1845-50, at the height of the Irish famine, and from that point on seems to have viewed himself as being almost more Irish than Scottish.

Although he did not live there permanently after 1850, he made frequent visits to Ireland and showed himself as a sympathetic and perceptive portrayer of the Irish people and of the difficulties which beset them.

Homeward Bound
Erskine Nicol
mid 19th century
National Library of Ireland

He is sometimes accused of making comic capital out of his subjects and turning them into stereotypical ‘Paddies’, and it is true that he did occasionally cater to the Victorian taste for low farce.

More often, however, his work shows a real and frank engagement with the injustices which plagued Ireland through the second half of the nineteenth century.