The sitters were the children of William Hedges-White, 3rd Earl of Bantry (1801-1884) and his wife Jane, who was the daughter of Charles John Herbert of Muckross Abbey, Co. Kerry. The sitter's father inherited Macroom Castle, Co. Cork, from his maternal uncle Robert Hedges Eyre after which he added the name Hedges to his own. He later also inherited the title and Bantry House, in Cork, on the death of his elder brother Richard, 2nd Earl of Bantry, in 1868, who had greatly enlarged and remodelled Bantry House and assembled a notable collection of pictures there mostly acquired on his extensive European tours. Lady Elizabeth White (b.1847) married Egerton Leigh of Jodrell hall, Co. Chester, her sister Lady Olivia (b.1850) married Lord Ardilaun, the eldest son of Sir Benjamin Guinness, 1st Bt, and brother of Edward Guinness, who was created 1st Earl of Iveagh, in 1871. William White (1854-91), who married Rosamund Petre in 1886, succeeded his father in 1884. On the basis of the sitter's apparent ages in this portrait it would appear to be datable to the early 1860s.
Born in Cork, Daniel MacDonald, son of the artist James MacDaniel, followed his father's footsteps as a painter fo portraits, genre scenes and cariacatures. At the age of thirteen MacDonald's engravings were published in The Tribute. He exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy (1842-4) and moved to London in 1845, where he exhibited at the British Institution (1847-51). As well as oil paintings, MacDonald produced many pen and ink drawings, a number of which are in the British Museum. His oil painting Bowling Match at castlemary Cloyne which exhibits a naive charm similar to that in the present picture is in the Crawford Municipal Art Galley, Cork.
We are grateful to Peter Murray for his help with this catalogue entry.