A long-running love story culminated yesterday in the marriage of Cork-born artist Patrick Scott, at the ripe old age of 93, to 57-year-old Eric Pearce, his companion of 37 years.
The two, whom Eric says met many years ago "in Dublin at a party, across a crowded room", wed in a civil ceremony at the registry office on Lower Grand Canal St.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Eric said there was a "deep, abiding love between them" and they had wanted to marry for some time.
On why they were doing it now in the autumn of Patrick’s life, Eric said the union was a "completion of a life and a celebration of a life that has been intensely private, like the man himself."
Dubliner Pearce, who has three daughters by a previous marriage during which time he lived in Cork, said he had his children’s full support.
"They are three wonderful women. They are so delighted for me. They regard it as a cause for celebration. I am very lucky to have such broadminded children" he said.
Eric, a designer of fine furniture and an artist in his own right, said his work and style has been informed by Patrick’s work and style since they met. Scott, from Kilbrittain in Co Cork, trained as a architect and didn’t become a full-time artist until 1960, having held his first exhibition in 1944.
Eric said Patrick’s work is "still a central part of his life, albeit on a smaller scale" and that while he is confined to a wheelchair, he is "alert, and his health is good".
The men are currently working on a major retrospective of Patrick’s work which will be showcased early next year at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow and at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.
However, they intend to fit in a one-day honeymoon in Wicklow at a house owned by Patrick. Yesterday afternoon, guests at the wedding were invited to Patrick’s Dublin home for "a glass of fizz and lemon cake", Eric said.
Both men wore suits and a corsage for the occasion, which was attended by close friends.
Patrick is best known for his gold paintings, abstracts incorporating geometrical forms in gold leaf. He also produces tapestries and carpets.
His paintings are in several important collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He won the Guggenheim Award in 1960.
In 2007, he was made a Saoi of the Aosdána, the highest honour that can be bestowed on an Irish artist.