Williamite portraits displayed in Enniskillen to mark Orange heritage week

Historically important paintings of King William III and Queen Mary II have gone on public display as part of the first-ever Orange heritage week.

The oil paintings, which were personally commissioned by King William following the Battle of the Boyne, were presented to a Fermanagh dignitary more than 300 years ago.

Paul Dane was Provost of Enniskillen during the Williamite campaign and was present at the famous battle of 1690. He was given the portraits for his services rendered.

They were previously displayed at Enniskillen Town Hall before placed in storage, however, the valuable artworks were uncovered once more for an open evening at Enniskillen District Hall.

The Royal couple enjoyed pride of place alongside a number of other historical portraits – including George III, Martin Luthur, the Duke of York and the third Earl of Erne.

The exhibition was part of a wider programme of events that concludes on Thursday (September 28).

Local historian and Orangeman, Sam Carrothers, described the Williamite paintings as “hugely significant”.

He said: “The portraits were commissioned by King William after the Battle of the Boyne, when exactly we cannot be sure as records are difficult to obtain from the period. We do know the paintings were a personal gift to Paul Dane for the part he played in the defence of Enniskillen, and his role at the Boyne itself, during the Glorious Revolution.”

County Fermanagh grand master Stuart Brooker said the Institution was delighted to make temporary public provision for the artworks.

He said: “The Williamite portraits are not only incredibly impressive artistically, but also extremely noteworthy from a historical perspective. The paintings are of their time and offer a unique insight into two seminal figures of British, Irish and European history. It is entirely fitting they should go on display during Orange heritage week.”

Mr Brooker also expressed appreciation to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for its cooperation regarding the loan of the paintings.

The inaugural initiative is described as incorporating a series of activities “informing audiences about the origins and traditions of the loyal order, its membership, and its influence on wider society”.

Published on the 26th of September 2017
Article taken from the News Letter

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