top of page


(English, Irish, French, born 1956)

Anthony Murphy Artist.jpg

Click on for Godfrey Jordan's movie-short of Anthony Murphy at the opening of his one-man show in the Oriel Gallery, Dublin.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
Four Quartets: Little Gidding (1942)
T.S. Eliot

We have fallen in the dreams the ever-living
Breathe on the tarnished mirror of the world,
And then smooth out with ivory hands and sigh.
W. B. Yeats


       In the early sixties, my father would travel with his family to visit his brother, my uncle, the poet Richard Murphy, living in the old forge in Cleggan outside Clifden. To supplement his meagre income my uncle would sail tourists to Inishbofin in his Galway hooker called The True Light. On the way over you could watch the mackerel dying slowly in the bilges and follow the porpoises. Sometimes we would stop off at High Island where monks had eked out their existence over a thousand years ago. No harbour, just a leap ashore at the foot of a cliff. But the pagan world was present too for Mrs. Coyne was definitely a witch. A witch that knitted my geansaí of emerald green that caught every flying fishhook. To my eye then Fodhla (ancient Ireland) was everywhere and the sweet smell of a donkey’s breath a revelation. Today I see how well named was my Uncle’s boat. If a painting of mine holds true light – then I am still aboard, a little seasick, but at least I am not a mackerel. (March 2012)

       From where I live on a clear morning one can see the ruined walls of the Château de Montségur. It was there that on 16th March 1244, 225 Cathar Parfaits chose to be burnt at the stake rather than renounce their dualist faith and went singing, freely, to their auto-da-fé. It is a haunting memory which always serves as a reminder that beliefs are an integral part of existence. The problem for the Cathars, and for many others, has always been interference by other people. But today at least in the French Department of Aude, and equally in county Galway Ireland, the desolation and wildness make no claim on me, and I am left free to develop my painting in accordance with my beliefs.


       In both France and Ireland, I go and sit in a bar or brasserie. A painter in the corner of a bar in Ireland is treated like a slow-witted conjuror, someone about whom one can’t be too sure; in France, the reaction is more respectful. The smoker will blow smoke rings, and the waiter will study the influences in your work with feigned indifference.

      My father and his brother passed on to me their love of Ireland. My father restored a ruined castle, Carraigin, on Lough Corrib, where I go to paint; and my uncle Richard Murphy lived and worked as a poet in Cleggan, on the west coast. After Oxford, I went out to live in county Galway. For three seasons I hunted with the Galway Blazers and took aerial photographs from a microlight. Much of my understanding of imagery had its beginning at that time. I can still see Micky Dempsey’s pink coat against the dark brown bogs of Attymon.

      Trial and error are my great masters. A painting is nothing more or less than a series of brush strokes; and of each stroke, one may say: “If you like it, leave it; if you don’t, wipe it off.” In my search for colours that move, much of a picture will end up as rags around my feet. Why some people are painters seems partly to do with this persistent desire to correct and alter the image. This persistence and tenacity can suggest that the completed image exists somewhere already, in the way Plato proposed. In fact, a quiet hope of mine is to discover, on death, that the heavenly substance from which, say, all pears draw their “pearness”, looks a bit like one of my paintings.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1956
Lives and works near Carcassonne since 1992 

1970/1975 Westminster School, London
1973 Emmy award for best actor in the starring role
BBC, Television Academy Awards, Los Angeles
1975-1978 New College, Oxford,
BA degree in Philosophy, Psychology and Physiology
1982 High Holborn, London, BA degree in Law
1984 Lincoln’s Inn, London, called to the English Bar
1985-1987 Temple, 2 King’s Bench Walk & 6 Pump Court
1988-1990 Lawfirm of Clifford Chance, Paris, France 

Solo Exhibitions
2014 Barbara Stanley Gallery, Connaught St, London
2013 Gilmore Fine Art, Belfast
2012 Ib Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin
2011 Barbara Stanley Gallery, Connaught Street, London
2010 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
2009 Ib Jorgensen fine art Dublin
2008 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
2007 Ib Jorgensen fine art Dublin
2006 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
2005 Ib Jorgensen fine art Dublin 2
2003 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
2002 Galerie Aalders, Golfe de St Tropez
2001 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
2000 Jernigan Wicker Fine Arts, San Francisco, USA
1999 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
1998 Jernigan Wicker Fine Arts, San Francisco, USA
1997 The Orangery, Holland Park, London
1995 Park Walk Gallery, Chelsea, London
1993 Park Walk Gallery, Chelsea, London
1991 Park Walk Gallery, Chelsea, London 

Group Exhibitions
2010 Art London, Royal Hospital
2004 Ib Jorgensen fine art, Dublin, Ireland
2003 Ib Jorgensen fine art, Dublin, Ireland
2000 Toronto Art Fair, Canada
2000 The Arts Club, Dover Street, London
1999 École Supérieure de Commerce, Toulouse, France
1995 Galerie Municipale, Castelnaudary, France
1994 À la recherche du Comte de Foix, Gaston Fébus. Foix, France
1991 Drouot – L’Hermine, Paris, France

bottom of page