Whipping the Herring out of Town
Whipping the herring out of town was a custom which heralded the last day of Lent, when Cork butchers celebrated the coming of Easter and the return of economic prosperity (and meat-eating) by holding a mock funeral of a herring, which symbolised abstinence. The painting depicts the moment after the herring is discarded, when the butchers would tie a quarter of lamb to a lath, decorated with ribbons and flowers, which would then be accompanied on its return to the market place by musicians, revellers and mischief-makers. Situated at the junction of Batchelors Quay and North Gate, Grogan depicts the scene with a zest for his subject. The individual groupings within the composition together create a real sense of the movement of the crowd along the streets. The religious context is not lost on Grogan, as he highlights the importance of the quarter of lamb (Lamb of God) in a quasi-religious ‘glow’.
|Creator||Grogan, Nathaniel (Search Europeana for this person)|
|Subject Terms||Painintg, oil on panel|
|Provider||Irish Manuscripts Commission|