October 20, 2023
Frances Moran SC, the first woman to achieve Senior Counsel status in either Ireland or the UK, is the subject of the second ‘In Plain Sight’ portrait commission, an initiative of The Bar of Ireland and the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, to celebrate women barristers and their leadership, influence and contribution to the legal system and barrister profession.
2023 marks the second year of the In Plain Sight initiative. The commission was this year awarded to the renowned artist and sculptor, Vera Klute. Her oil on canvas depiction of Frances Moran captures the barrister’s essence, intellect, and strength through her warm yet contemplative smile. The portrait was unveiled by Chair of the Bar Council of Ireland Sara Phelan alongside Klute and Hugh Mohan SC, Chair of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns and Klute at an event in the King’s Inns Dublin yesterday.
The Dublin born barrister, was the fourth women to be called to the Irish Bar in 1921 and was already a pioneer in the profession when she got silk in 1941. As well as practising as a barrister, she was the first woman law professor in Ireland, predating her UK counterpart by 45 years. She was also the first woman to hold a Dublin University Chair in any subject.
Sara Phelan, Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland said,
In addition to celebrating the significance of Frances Moran’s accomplishments, the ‘In Plain Sight’ initiative offers an opportunity to continue to shed light on the invaluable but heretofore undercelebrated contribution of women at the Bar. By showcasing the significant role women barristers have played in the past, we hope to continue to inspire future generations of women in the profession and promote the importance of gender equality in the legal system.
Hugh Mohan SC, Chair of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns said,
To add to our collection in King’s Inns with an artist of such high repute as Vera Klute is an honour.
We continue to invest in our environment here, so that students and visitors to the Society enjoy a fuller picture of who has made and shaped the profession before them.
Vera Klute said,
“I am honoured to have played a role in the In Plain Sight project this year. Through my art, I’ve sought to capture the indominable sprit of Frances Moran SC and the countless untold stories of female barristers who have shaped the legal landscape. This commission is a tribute to her and is a testament to the strength and resilience of women in Irish Law.”
In Case you Missed it: In Conversation with Vera Klute
In her studio in Kilkenny, Vera sat down with Patrick Murphy of the Royal Hibernian Academy to discuss her undertaking of the commission, her previous work and more.
About In Plain Sight
Four portraits of female leaders and pioneers now hang in the Honorable Society of King’s Inns. In Plain Sight seeks to celebrate the achievements and enhance the visibility of women that have demonstrated significant leadership, influence and contribution to legal practice and education.
It aims to achieve this through the commissioning of additional portraiture that will hang in the Law Library and The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, as appropriate, in plain sight of the barristers of today and tomorrow.
The Inaugural Commission of Frances Kyle and Averill Deverell was undertaken by artist Emma Stroude.
For more details on In Plain Sight click here.