Art O Briain

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Where: Île-de-France, Paris, France

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When: 01 January 1935

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An Irish Political Figure I never heard of is the subject of today\s image! Art O'Briain was conveniently identified for us by the cataloguer who states that he is accompanied by a member of the British army wearing a uniform and medals! This should be educational? (FYI - Yesterday's lunchtime tour of the Photo Detectives Exhibition was a tremendous success and was very well attended. There will be similar tours on the last Wednesday of each month at 1 pm and all are welcome.)

And, speaking of "tremendous successes", based on Trojan work from Rory_Sherlock, Niall McAuley. oaktree_brian_1976, BeachcomberAustralia and -especially- sharon.corbet, we have confirmation of date, subject and location here. Sharon suggested (with corroboration from others) that the man in the uniform is Augustin Pierre Becq de Fouquière, who was 'Chief of Protocol and Introducer of the Ambassadors to the President of France'). He is almost certainly greeting Art Ó Briain to the official residence of the President of France, the Élysée Palace. It was likely captured in the mid 1930s, when Ó Briain was 'Irish Minister Plenipotentiary to France and Belgium'....


Photographers: Various

Collection: Irish Political Figures Photographic Collection

Date: Catalogue range c.1920-1949. Likely c.1935-1938

NLI Ref: NPA POLF214

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 20009
irishpoliticalfiguresphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland politicalfigured ireland artobriain soldier britisharmy uniform medals paris france elysee palace locationidentified augustinpierrebecqdefouquière élyséepalace irishministerplenipotentiarytofranceandbelgium ambassador chiefofprotocol introducer etiquette credentials artóbriain

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  • profile

    Carol Maddock

    • 01/Feb/2018 09:00:18

    And here's yesterday's tour of Photo Detectives in full swing!

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    Rory_Sherlock

    • 01/Feb/2018 09:24:06

    I wonder is that really a British military uniform... It could be the uniform of a particular office such as a Lord Lieutenant etc. Also, the medals are unusual in that each appears to have a circular rosette on the ribbon - Could they represent orders? The badge at his neck could be that of the French Légion d'honneur, but the star on his chest is different. Perhaps he is a diplomat?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 09:32:13

    A detailed pdf document at some library or other. Arthur Patrick O’Brien was born in London on 25 September 1872 ... In early 1919, partly on Collins’ suggestion, Ó Briain was appointed the envoy of Dáil Eireann in Britain ... In March 1923, however, Ó Briain and many others were arrested and deported to Ireland. ...From 1924 to 1932, Ó Briain was effectively absent from public life ... To the surprise of many, he was appointed Irish Minister to France and Belgium in June 1935; a position he held until September 1938 when he retired.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 09:33:20

    I'm guessing this is 1935-38, and the other guy is French or Belgian.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 09:53:48

    A blog entry also at the nli on his papers.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 09:56:28

    Here is how he looked nearer 1920: Harry Boland, Art Ó Briain, Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh, George Gavan Duffy

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 10:21:49

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] I think that you are right and he is French. I had a look at the various decorations, and I think I see the Order of the Black Star, the Order of the Dragon of Annam and possibly the Ordre des Palmes Academiques.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 10:30:07

    Plus the Order of Agricultural Merit. (The wiki page on Orders, decorations and medals of France is handy for playing spot the medal/order!)

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 01/Feb/2018 10:36:49

    Art O'Briain "was one of the chief organisers of Terence MacSwiney's funeral in London in 1920" - from a 1949 obituary via Trove - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172506842 [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/37341555695/]

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    Rory_Sherlock

    • 01/Feb/2018 10:41:29

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Yes, I was thinking the first (from left) was the Ordre des Palmes Academiques, the second could be Order of Agricultural Merit (Officer), the fourth could be the Royal Order of Cambodia (thought it could be a lot of other things too...) and the star on his chest could be the Ordre de l'Étoile noire (Order of the Black Star), though the blue edge on the Maltese cross is difficult to see. All this, with the Légion d'honneur neck badge, would suggest he is probably a member of the French diplomatic service in levée dress (as the British would term it).

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    Rory_Sherlock

    • 01/Feb/2018 10:43:52

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Actually, I think you are correct Sharon - it is the Order of the Dragon of Annam rather than the Royal Order of Cambodia

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 10:58:52

    Perhaps a French Ambassador to Ireland or the UK in the 30s?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 11:06:58

    Per the French Embassy: Representation of France in Dublin has been, successively, through a consulate, then, when the Free State of Ireland was announced in 1921, a legation. After World War II, the latter finally became an embassy.

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    Rory_Sherlock

    • 01/Feb/2018 11:17:59

    Nice to see Art O'Briain wearing his Fáinne in counterpoint to his companion's finery!

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    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 01/Feb/2018 11:26:13

    Here's the list of the amassadors in Ireland, no pictures though for any of them. fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambassade_de_France_en_Irlande

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 01/Feb/2018 11:48:50

    Some similarity to Albert Lebrun, President of France 1932-1940, when O'Briain was Irish Minister in Paris (1935-38 see Trove link). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Fran%C3%A7ois_Lebrun www.flickr.com/photos/fawbs/13890686233/

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 11:57:28

    Too old to be Lebrun, I think, Lebruns 'tache is still dark in pics with De Gaulle.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 01/Feb/2018 12:10:18

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Boot polish ?!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 01/Feb/2018 15:04:05

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I see from the Irish times of Tue 8th July 1935 that Albert François Lebrun received Count Gerald O'Kelly Irish Free State Minister in Paris since 1929, when he presented his letters of recall. The new Minister is Art O'Brien........ it is plausible that he did meet Lebrun in a formal situation such as pictured here?

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    Rory_Sherlock

    • 01/Feb/2018 16:44:04

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland I don't think it can be Lebrun as he was a politician, not a diplomat, and so the uniform is wrong I think

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    Inverarra

    • 01/Feb/2018 16:51:01

    Some great detective work going on today. Take a bow. Assume Art was a supporter of Eamonn DeValera.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 18:25:25

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] I think it is Lebrun, and [not anymore, see below] at the Elysee Palace. It looks similar to this picture of Lebrun meeting Cardinal Valerio Valeri. Or this one of him greeting the Chinese Ambassador, Wellington Koo.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Feb/2018 18:37:43

    Fair play, https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia, https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet, you got the identity and the location!

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 18:44:26

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] Actually, on second thoughts, I think that those captions are misleading. And that's Augustin Pierre Becq de Fouquières in the photos.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 18:48:38

    French wiki.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 01/Feb/2018 19:25:12

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Well done Sharon, it all makes sense now.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 21:08:49

    He was apparently the Chief of Protocol and Introducer of the Ambassadors to the President of France from 1920 to his retirement in 1937. So he was responsible for conducting any new Ambassadors/Ministers/Monarchs/representatives of countries to the Elysee Palace to meet the President. Which would explain why he features in so many photos.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 01/Feb/2018 21:11:35

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Bon travail ! The pillar at top right and brass carpet rods on the steps are a constant at the Elysee Palace, but it seems there used to be a wooden porch thingy below at ground level in old photos. ... https://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2928706963/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/23270493051/

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Feb/2018 21:37:18

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] According to the French wiki, there was a glass cloakroom added by Sadi Carnot, which was removed after the Second World War, when the Elysee Palace was restored. (A clock was also removed at the same time, as it made it look like a "provincial railway station").

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 01/Feb/2018 21:46:58

    Ha! Someone else quite famous also put on his Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails in Paris in 1935 - youtu.be/RZOJoV6H2UM

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    silverio10

    • 01/Feb/2018 23:27:08

    Buena serie de fotos antiguas .

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    Rory_Sherlock

    • 02/Feb/2018 09:12:14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Well done Sharon! Augustin Pierre Becq de Fouquière it is - Interesting how misleading those captions are, leading one to think you were looking at the President rather than the Introducer!

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    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 02/Feb/2018 11:26:16

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Great work, he's got more medals in the wiki photo.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 02/Feb/2018 17:51:46

    Thanks again to all - and especially to https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet. After deafening myself ringing the trifecta bells (location, date, subject), I recovered enough to update the map, date and description.

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    oursonpolaire

    • 06/Feb/2018 18:57:18

    The cataloguer should have been able to guess the officer's nationality by a quick look at his medals. He has the collar of an officer of the Legion of Honour, and none of his other medals with their rosettes are British pattern.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 31/May/2020 14:36:37

    Here's a photo of Art O'Briain's predecessor, Count Gerald O'Kelly at a similar occasion.