Monday 23 April 2018

Christy Brown archive to remain in Ireland after €44k auction sale

Photo of Christy painting
Photo of Christy painting
Self portrait of Christy painting from the archive

The archive of the author and painter Christy Brown is to remain in Dublin after it was purchased by the National Library and the Little Museum of Dublin.

Unseen photographs, sketches and poetry complete a collection of artifacts relating to the life of Christy Brown and were amongst the lot auctioned.

The collection, comprising papers, paintings, books and personal effects was auctioned at Bonhams in London today

It was bought for €44,820 and was purchased jointly by the National Library of Ireland and the Little Museum of Dublin.

Included was a letter that Brown wrote in 1952 to his long-time friend Katriona Maguire – who was the first outside the family to foster Brown's talents as an artist and writer by regular visits – expressing his wish to become a published author.

Maguire contributed 40 letters, five of which are written with Brown's left foot and 33 typed with it.

There was huge interest in teh auction, according to Andrew Currie, spokesperson for Bonhams.

This is partly due to Brown's life being made into director Jim Sheridan's Oscar-winning movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

In a statement today, The National Library of Ireland said the acquisition was made possible through financial support provided by an Irish company, Direct Medical.

Catherine Fahy, Acting Director of the NLI, said: “We are thrilled that this acquisition was made possible through collaboration with the Little Museum of Dublin and the generosity of Direct Medical."

"Christy Brown was one of the most extraordinary creative forces to emerge in Ireland during the 20th Century."

"This archive includes very significant correspondence and writings, as well as previously unseen sketches, paintings and unpublished poems.”

Ms. Fahy said the National Library of Ireland would preserve and store the archive, and that elements of it would be incorporated into exhibitions at the Little Museum of Dublin.

Trevor White, Director of the Little Museum of Dublin, said: “We are very excited about this partnership with the National Library of Ireland, and very grateful to the Library and to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for recognising the importance of bringing this remarkable collection back home to Dublin.”

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