Edith Somerville was a major influence on Drishane and the surrounding neighbourhood. The museum, situated in her studio, is a celebration of her very full life, containing many letters, drawings and photographs. Although most widely known for her collaboration with her cousin and very dear friend Violet Martin of Ross, she was far more than just a writer, which the exhibition attempts to demonstrate.
Edith Somerville (1858-1949) spent most of her life in Drishane House. Memorable for her writings in collaboration with her cousin under the pseudonym Somerville and Ross- of which The Experiences of an Irish R.M is probably the best known – she was also a highly regarded painter, with many examples of her work in the house.
SOMERVILLE AND ROSS
Edith Somerville met her cousin Violet Martin in 1886, and their first book An Irish Cousin appeared in 1889 under the names Geilles Herring (from the maiden name of her ancestor, the wife of Sir Walter de Somerville of Linton and Carnwath) and Martin Ross, though the pen names were dropped after the first edition. In 1898 Edith Somerville went to paint at the Etaples art colony, accompanied by Violet. There they created the stories later gathered in Some Experiences of an Irish R. M., completed the following year. By the time Violet died in 1915, they had published fourteen books together.