I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Harry Kernoff, The Little Genius


Liffey Press



While participating in these fringe movements, he nonetheless set his primary sights on the RHA. In debates about Modernism, he was adroit, preferring to keep his paint dry for commissions that would free him from his father’s business. Though the Taylor Prize relieved Isaac of paying final year school fees, Harry was still expected to pay his way at home by delivering hours in the workshop. Embarking on a full-time career as an artist was clearly hazardous during the civic and economic chaos of the late 1920s.

By then, Kate had moved the family to No. 13 Stamer Street, where Harry painted in the attic, with a spill of light and a com­manding view of the laneways to the rear of the house where he observed the coming and going of Dubliners in their daily tasks.

By the standards of the time, No. 13 was a substantial Vic­torian two-storey over basement, with granite steps to the porch and elegant plaster work in the living rooms. The Mezuzah of the Diaspora, a scroll inside a metal case, was formally installed in the right portal of the hall door. With the purchase of this command­ing residence and gardens, the Kernoffs arrived as people of sub­stance in the community of the South Circular Road. One might surmise the move was mainly due to his mother being credited with making the major family decisions.