Nano Reid

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Nano Reid
Anne Margaret Reid

(1900-03-01)1 March 1900
Died17 November 1981(1981-11-17) (aged 81)
Drogheda, County Louth Republic of Ireland
EducationDublin Metropolitan School of Art, Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Central School in London
Known forModern Art
Notable workBathing in the Dodder, Loafers, Spell of the Wood, Legende

Nano Reid (1 March 1900 – 17 November 1981) was an Irish painter who specialised in landscape, figure painting and portraits.[1]

One of the finest Irish painters of the century, her rich but subtly expressionist use of pigment makes her work as relevant today as when she started painting[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Nano Reid was born Anne Margaret Reid on 1 March 1900, in Drogheda, County Louth. She was the eldest of four children of Thomas Reid, publican, and Anne Reid (née Downey). The family home was above their pub in Drogheda, with the family also owning a number of properties in the town and in Dublin. Reid attended school at the Siena Convent, where her talent for painting developed. Upon leaving school she initially enrolled to train as a nurse at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, but left after two months. Her parents were persuaded by their parish priest, Dr Segrave, to allow Nano Reid to attend the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin. Whilst there she became an acquaintance of Harry Clarke. Nano Reid taught in at her old school and a boys' school in Drogheda in 1923. She exhibited for the first time at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 1925 with three illustrations of poems. Nano Reid exhibited with the RHA periodically until 1968, though never became an academic member.[3]

In 1927, as was common with other Irish painters of the time, Nano Reid went to Paris. Whilst there, she attended to the Académie de la Grande Chaumière for a few months, but the experience doesn't appear to have had an influence on her painting style. She then went to London to attend the Chelsea Polytechnic from 1929 to 1930, which she did not enjoy and after that remained in Ireland.[3]

Artistic career[edit]

After returning to Ireland, Nano Reid began to exhibit landscape painting at the RHA. Like other painters of the period, such as Paul Henry, she travelled to the west of Ireland for painting inspiration with her early work showing the landscapes, local people and fisherman of the area. In 1934, she held a solo show at the Society of Dublin Painters at St Stephen's Green. Her second solo show was in 1936 at the Daniel Egan Gallery in Dublin, the show consisted of 53 watercolours and 23 oil paintings. At the request of the Mayor of Drogheda , the collection was rehung in the town.[3]

Nano Reid's sister had taken over the family pub, to which she was a regular visitor while living primarily in Dublin. In Dublin she shared a house with her friend Patricia Hutchins. After WWII, Nano Reid moved to Fitzwilliam Square, sharing with others, including Pearse Hutchinson.[3]

In 1950, Nano Reid and Norah McGuinness were selected to represent Ireland at the Venice Biennale of Art. This was the first time Irish artists participated in this international exhibition, which has been supported by the government of Ireland since then through a range of departments and agencies responsible for foreign affairs, arts and culture.[citation needed]

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland's Chichester Street Gallery, Belfast was the venue for a collection of forty solo works in the summer of 1964. She had previously shown in Belfast as a guest of the Ulster Society of Women Artists and with the Irish Exhibition of Living Art.[4]

Drogheda, the home town of Nano Reid, has not honored her by naming a street, a bridge, or a gallery in her memory.

Work in collections[edit]


  • A born artist and a born stylist...This young artist from Drogheda has to be saluted as a genius.
  • One can say, without pretension, that she has her place in European painting.
  • For my money the best Irish painter, mo cheol thú, a Nano.


  1. ^ "Nano Reid (1905-81)". Visual Arts Cork. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  2. ^ In The Modern Art Collection, Trinity College, Dublin David Scott says
  3. ^ a b c d Hourican, Bridget (2009). "Reid, Nano". In McGuire, James; Quinn, James (eds.). Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^ "Preview of Eire artist". Belfast Telegraph. 2 June 1964. p. 10. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  5. ^ See Brian O’Doherty, The Irish Imagination 1959–1971, 1971 [Rosc Exhib. Cat.] -

References and further reading[edit]

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