“Johnny The Jig”, a bronze figure of a boy playing an accordion, is in Holywood, County Down, very appropriately placed beside a children’s playground. The play area was very busy when I arrived, so I was careful with my camera in case I upset any of the parents.
Sophia Rosamond Praeger, MBE, HRHA, MA (1867 – 1954) was an Irish artist, sculptor, illustrator and writer. She was born in Holywood, Co Down
She was the daughter of a linen exporter originally from The Hague. With her brother Robert Lloyd Praeger (later a famous naturalist and director of the National Library of Ireland), she attended Sullivan Upper school at Holywood, Co Down. Following a period at the Government School of Art in Belfast, she attended Slade in London at the age of 17.
Returning to Northern Ireland she worked from a studio in Belfast before purchasing her own studio in Holywood.
In addition to illustrating children’s books and providing botanical illustrations for her brother’s work, she exhibited sculptural works throughout Ireland and Britain.
Examples of her work can be seen in the Ulster Museum and the Ulster Folk Museum, as well as the Royal Victoria Hospital, St Anne’s Cathedral, the Ulster Hospital, Donald, and the Queen’s University of Belfast.