Tuesday 21 February 2017

Nine lives

Grainne Coyne on the artists, footballers and poets who were the celebrities of the '10s decade

Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30

1 Born in Dublin in 1880, Kathleen Fox studied drawing and painting at the Metropolitan School of Art under William Orpen, also working as his assistant. In 1908, she won a gold medal for her enamelled cup Going to the Feast. Fox received accolades for her stained-glass work including her St Tobias in St Joseph's Church, Glenageary. While studying in Paris in 1911, she submitted the first of many works to the Royal Hibernian Academy. Upon returning to Dublin, Fox created her most famous work The Arrest, depicting the surrender of Countess Markievicz at the College of Surgeons during the Easter Rising. Fox died in Milltown, Dublin in 1963.  

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2 Born Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock in Dublin in 1893, he took the name Rex Ingram in honour of his late mother. In 1911 he left for the US where he later enrolled at Yale School of Art. Rex never completed his studies, but began an acting career, starring in The Witness to the Will. His breakthrough occurred with The Great Problem (1916), which he wrote and directed. At Metro Studios he worked on many box office hits including Hearts are Trumps and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He died in Hollywood in 1950.

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3 Born in 1887, Patrick O'Connell grew up in Dublin where he played junior soccer before gaining a professional contract with Belfast Celtic in 1909. His performances in Ireland's 1914 Home Championship triumph attracted attention and eventually led to him joining Manchester United. In 1922 O'Connell moved to Spain where he managed Racing Santander, Real Oviedo and Real Betis. His most famous role was as manager of Barcelona who he famously saved from bankruptcy thanks to exhibition matches in north America. 'Don Patricio' died in London in 1959.  

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4 French fashion designer Coco Chanel has created timeless designs that are still popular. Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 in Saumur, after her mother's death she was raised in an orphanage where she was taught to sew. After a brief singing career where she gained the nickname of 'Coco', she opened her first shop in 1910, selling hats. In the 1920s, she launched her most famous perfume Chanel No. 5 and later introduced the Chanel suit and the Little Black Dress, with an emphasis on comfort for women. She closed her house in World War II and did not return until 1954. She died in 1971, aged 87.

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5 A dancer and choreographer, Isadora Duncan's emphasis on freer forms of movement was a huge influence on modern dance. Born in 1877 in San Francisco, her family later moved to Europe where she gained much success. This led to sell-out tours throughout Europe. She went on to found dance schools in the US, Germany and Russia, with her students dubbed the 'Isadorables'. Duncan died in Nice in 1927 when her scarf became entangled in the wheel of her car.

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6 A poet and one of the great figures in modernism, TS Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, on September 1888 and attended Harvard. At 22, he left for Paris and in 1914 moved to England where he came under the influence of Ezra Pound. Eliot's first collection Prufrock and Other Observations (1917) established him as a poet. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. Eliot had various Irish connections during his life from discussing poetry with WB Yeats to a friendship with James Joyce.

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7 Born in Liverpool in 1876, Jim Larkin grew up in Co Down. He helped form the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in Dublin and was later elected president of the Irish Trades Union Congress. With James Connolly he founded the Irish Independent Labour Party in 1912. He was the major figure on the side of the workers in the Lockout of 1913 and afterwards left for the US where he was active with the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies. He was expelled from the ITGWU in 1924 and founded the Workers Union, and was elected three times as a Labour TD.

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8 Val Harris was captain of the first Irish soccer team to beat England, in 1913, and the following year played on the Home Championship winning side. Born in Ringsend, Dublin in 1884, Harris won an All-Ireland senior medal with Isles of the Sea in 1901, before joining Shelbourne. A hard but versatile player, he was sold for £350 to Everton, with whom he twice finished second in the league. He returned to play with Shelbourne, who he managed in the 1930s.

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9 Born in London in 1871, Jack Butler Yeats was the youngest son of Irish portraitist John, and brother to future Nobel laureate, William. He studied at the Westminster School of Art, before work as a graphic artist and illustrator. Yeats preferred watercolours and did not work in oils until about 1905. He came to live permanently in Ireland with his wife, Mary Cottenham White, in 1910. Sympathetic to republicanism, in 1924, he won an Olympic silver medal for his painting The Liffey Swim. He died in Dublin in 1957. 

Irish Independent

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