Maurice Wilks artist

Maurice Canning Wilks RHA RUA 1910 – 1984

A very well-known Irish landscape and portrait painter, Maurice Canning Wilks was born in 1910 the son of a Belfast Linen designer.

He was educated at the Malone Public School, Belfast and attended evening classes at the Belfast College of Art. Whilst attending college he was awarded the Dunville Scholarship allowing him to attend day classes. After college he resided in Cushendun in the Glens of Antrim. Wilks was just nineteen years of age when he first exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. He went on to exhibit internationally in London, Montreal, Boston and Toronto with many solo exhibitions. He was elected an associate member of the RHA and a full member of the Royal Ulster Academy.

Maurice’s subject matter came from all over Ireland but he was particularly keen on Donegal, Kerry and the West of Ireland. However, he was also a very successful portrait painter who flourished in commissioned portraits.  Towards the later years of his life, Wilks had a studio in Dublin, which inspired him to paint many everyday scenes of Dublin. His belief was, ‘hard work and regular hours’.

Wilks was very much inspired by the work of fellow Northern Ireland artist James Humbert Craig RHA RUA and his own portrait of Craig hangs in Bangor Town Hall.

The English publishing house Frost & Reed published a collection of Wilk’s work as fine art prints in the 1950’s / 60’s and in doing so introduced his art to a much wider audience thus making him a household name in Ireland and the UK, where its huge population of Irish emigrants wanted an image of their homeland hanging on their wall.

In later years Wilks maintained a summer studio at Sutton in Dublin where he painted many scenes of the area including Dublin Bay. Maurice Canning Wilks died in 1984.


  • The Royal Hibernian Academy
  • The Royal Ulster Academy

Public Collections

  • The Ulster Museum
  • Armagh County Museum
  • The Ulster Folk Park
  • OPW Dublin
  • Limerick City Art Gallery

Maurice Wilks artist