Keating was commissioned in 1917 to illustrate the play which was an honour for the illustrator. Keating decided to choose scenes from the play which were not seen on stage. Keating appeared in the illustrations himself, as the character of Christy Mahon's father, he also photographed models from the School of Art and sketched at the theatre, with the actors of the day making an appearance in the final illustrations.

Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977) Illustration for The Playboy of the Western World - Frontispiece, 1923 Seán Keating PRHA HRA HRSA (1889-1977) Illustration for The Playboy of the Western World - Frontispiece, 1923

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Throughout the 1920s, the illustrations for the deluxe edition of the play were widely exhibited around Ireland. This became a significant connection between the visual arts and literature in the early stages of the Irish Free State.

In 2009, the image for this illustration was used on a stamp commemorating the centenary of Synge's death.

Check out Whyte's on Barnebys here.

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