The Golden Hare of Rathlin Island
Robert Rutherford
Acrylic on Canvas
H 12in x W 36in
On the northern coast of Co. Antrim, Ulster, just East of the Giant's Causeway lies Rathlin Island. Once part of the ancient kingdom of Dal Riadna, and once the first base of the Vikings in Ireland, it is the home of a rare variation of hare. Emerging from a roofless bothy on the South coast of the island, I became silent and still. So did that solitary hare that had surprised me. We watched each other from about twelve metres apart. After a bit, the large golden hare continued browsing on the embankment of emerald turf. It was a small birthday party for me. The story goes that they are shunned by the local, brown hares because they get too much attention. That day of walking provided sightings of over twenty brown hares. Later, on a quiet, high point toward some North coast cliffs, but facing South, this landscape, with Fair Head, and some basalt cliffs, became the drawing. Much later still, finding some life drawings, and this spontaneous cartoon of a pet I once had, this composition came together.