Memories of Les Sylphides (1943)
by Sidney Smith (1912-82)
Born in Belfast the son of a draper, Sidney Smith was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He studied privately with the Irish painter Robert Boyd Morrison, and attended evening classes at the Belfast Art School where he met fellow artist Dan O'Neill beginning a lifelong friendship.
Although his paintings were widely exhibited and well received, he is most renowned for his murals. In 1947 he painted his first mural at the British Restaurant on Victoria Street, Belfast, and he continued to use this medium throughout his career.
One of the finest examples of his murals is The Flight of the Huguenots, a huge dynamic structure which shows Smith’s talent for large-scale compositions and decorative design. It was commissioned by the architect Henry Lynch-Robinson, the most controversial of those who brought Modernism to Ulster after WWII, for the Festival of Britain in 1951, and is now stored at the Town Hall in Bangor.