Melita Denaro Irish, b. 1950


“Like Melita I split my life between the urban bustle of London, and the miracle of nature that is North Donegal. From my vantage point on the cusp of Lough Swilly, I look out on the waters that bore the last of the Celtic Chieftains to exile in the 17th Century and to the ever changing face of Scalp Mountain on the far peninsula of Inisowen. I have a painting by Melita looking towards my side of the lough from hers – from the castle at Inch once scene of bloody clashes between the O’Donnell Clan for the Lordship of Tyrconnel. The scudding light never lingers; its illumination changing the landscape from basalt and brackish aubergine one moment to blazing cerulean and fluorescent green the next.”

Sean Raffety, 2002

For the last 25 years Melita Denaro has made a monthly pilgrimage from her Hackney studio to the Isle of Doagh, a peninsula of Inishowen in Co. Donegal. It is here that Melita spends her days painting the wild landscape that surrounds h­­er, weathering whatever conditions the Atlantic Ocean chooses to throw at her. Immersed in the landscape of Inishowen and its wild, changeable weather, Denaro’s paintings do not simply record a moment, of time but have become a trigger for other memories of a childhood growing up on the Isle of Doagh, Those memories make their way into the titles of each painting: the islanders, their conversations, stories and occupations have become an inseparable part of Denaro’s work.


Denaro was trained at Central School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. She has shown regularly with the John Martin Gallery since 2002.


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Available Works

Solo Exhibitions

2019 In His Sheltering Presence, John Martin Gallery, London
2016 Caught in the Moonlight, John Martin Gallery, London
2014 Whatever One Longs for, Is, John Martin Gallery, London
2011 The Tenderness of Attention, John Martin Gallery, London
2008 The Glad Earth, John Martin Gallery, London
2004 A Field We Knew Together, John Martin Gallery, London
2003 Melita Denaro at London Art Fair, John Martin Gallery, London
2003 ‘New Paintings from the Isle of Doagh’, Taylor Galleries, Dublin
2002 Melita Denaro 2002, John Martin Gallery, London
2000 Glebe Gallery, Donegal
1998 Paintings of Donegal Kelly Ross at the Ko Raw Gallery
1997 Gallery Dublin showing with Jack B. Yeats
1992,94 Oliver Swan Gallery London
1990,92,94The Gorden Gallery Derry


Group Exhbitions

2007 York: Contemporary Irish Painting, Lalique New York, John Martin Gallery
2006 Irish Landscape and Mark Swords, John Martin Gallery
2006 New Year Exhibition, John Martin Gallery
2005 Summer Exhibition, John Martin Gallery
2003 Melita Denaro, London Art Fair, John Martin Gallery
1999 Painters from Ireland, John Martin of London
1997 British & Contemporary Painting, Kelly Ross at the Clink Wharf Gallery
1996-98 Waterman,London
1996-98 Art,Connaught Brown London
1996 Whitechapel Open
1996 Beginnings Offer Waterman London
1996 Person Show Adam Gallery Bath
1996 Blue Gallery London
1996 Soloman Gallery, Dublin
1995-98 Art Fair, Royal College of Art
1995-1997Contemporary Art Society,Royal Festival Hall
1995-1997The Discerning Eye,The Mall Galleries
1992-97 Royal Hiberian Academy, Dublin
1990-97 Royal Academy Summer Show
1994-96 Sligo Art Gallery
1994 a Mark The Mall Galleries
1993-97 Hunting Observer Art Prize
1992-94 Guardian Art for Sale



1994 The Armitage Prize
1994 The David Murray Travelling Scholarship
1995 The Creswick Prize
1995 The Royal Academy Silver Medal



1975-78 Central School of Art BA (Hons) Ceramics
1992-95 Royal Academy Schools Post Graduate Diploma in Painting



Irish State Dublin, The Ulster Museum, Guinness Dublin; Guinness London; Allied Irish Bank Dublin; Hambros Bank London; Oprah Winfrey Chicago; `Blur’; Donegal County Council; H.R.H The Prince of Wales.