EN: The quote now adorning our studio in Merrion Square is from Norah Martin who was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She was born Norah McGrath in 1880 but lived to a great age so I knew her when I was small. She long outlived my great-grandfather Stephen, a ‘Master hairdresser’ according to the census of 1911, who had a barber’s shop in South King Street. She lived in an interesting old house on the South Circular Road and was a popular character, full of wit and wisdom with a lot of sayings all her own. Some of these are handed on in the family, like heirlooms.
So what does ‘Yellow to yellow makes yellow look white’ mean?
You could say it means ‘Context is everything’. That when you compare a dark yellow to a light yellow, the light yellow appears white. Or a slightly misbehaving child looks angelic beside a very bold child. I remember great-granny as being small and kind, with twinkly eyes. Family legend has it that she held out her first-born, my grandfather Billy, to King Edward 7th when he visited Ireland in 1903 and he touched grandpa’s head, which was said to explain his baldness.
Annie rendered the quote in a graphic style that would have been familiar to great-granny and the painters Lar & Michele did a lovely job.
Great-granny had a wealth of interesting language and would say of someone who had lost something they once had, ‘Better a once was-er than a never was-er’. And she reminded us that ‘Handsome is as handsome does’. It’s nice to think of her sayings living on in the bloodstream of Dublin language. And now on the wall of our studio.
Many thanks to Piranha Bar for the time-lapse.