A 19th century painting of an Irish family preparing for a daughter’s emigration to America will be sold at Whyte’s auction house in Ballsbridge. The work is expected to attract intense interest at the art sale on March 14th due to today’s current wave of emigration, according to the Irish Times.

Created by Cork-born artist James Brenan, ‘The Finishing Touch’ was first exhibited at Dublin’s Royal Hibernian Academy in 1867, where it sold for £35. Today, it is estimated to sell between €15,000-€20,000.

The 25in x 30in oil-on-canvas shows a family gathered inside a rural Irish house as the daughter prepares to leave for the New World. A sign writer is shown painting the girl’s name (O’Connor) and destination (New York) on the box that will carry her possessions.

Brenan, who was born in 1837, was alarmed at the devastating impact of post-Famine emigration. He himself immigrated to London before returning to Ireland to head the Crawford School of Art in Cork and later the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin. He died in 1907.

The Finishing Touch is one of almost 300 works at Whyte’s Irish and British Art Auction to be held on March 14th.

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