Self Portrait, The Silver Casket (1934)
by Sir John Lavery
Lavery is probably the most distinguished artist to have emerged from Belfast. He studied in London and Paris and in the early 1880s, worked at the well-known artists' colony of Grez-sur-Loing, outside Paris. The area became the inspiration for a number of his major French plein-air paintings. In addition to landscape works, he was a portrait painter of renown and included the Royal family among his sitters. He received a knighthood in 1918.
Lavery painted a number of self-portraits from the late 1890s onwards. This portrait shows him in his Doctor of Laws robes, an honorary doctorate which he received from Queen's University Belfast in 1925. The silver casket or freedom box, predominant in the foreground, is symbolic of the Freedom of Belfast, an honour he received on 23 January 1930.