George Galway MacCann

From Wikitia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
George Galway MacCann
Add a Photo
Born(1909-02-14)February 14, 1909
DiedNovember 4, 1967(1967-11-04) (aged 58)
Other namesNorthern Ireland
Alma mater
  • Royal Belfast Academical Institution
  • Belfast School of Art
  • Royal College of Art
  • Central London School of Arts and Crafts
  • Portadown College
  • Abstract Painter
  • Modernist sculptor
  • Writer
  • Broadcaster

George Galway MacCann ARCA ARUA (14 February 1909 -4 November 1967) was a Northern Irish abstract painter and Modernist sculptor, writer and broadcaster. MacCann was born in Belfast, the son of monumental sculptor David and his wife Elizabeth.


MacCann received a general education at Royal Belfast Academical Institution from 1920-1926 and studied art at Belfast School of Art under Seamus Stoupe for 3 years thereafter. Upon concluding his studies at Belfast School of Art MacCann was awarded a 3 year bursary from the Ministry of Education which he took to the Royal College of Art where he studied under Henry Moore. In 1932, in his final year at the RCA MacCann won a £10 sculpture prize after being nominated by his master.[1] In addition to his studies under Moore, MacCann also attended a nightclass in stone-carving at Central Saint Martins London School of Arts and Crafts in 1932, and another at Chelsea College of Arts.[2] Returning to Ulster in 1932 MacCann taught at Southern Regional College and at the The Royal School, Armagh. From 1937 until the outbreak of WW2 he lectured in sculpture at Belfast School of Art. In 1939 MacCann joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers serving in India and Myanmar. When he was demobbed MacCann established himself on the teaching staff of Sullivan Upper School in Holywood where he remained for a short time.[1]

Life and Works

In 1934 MacCann became a member of the groundbreaking Ulster Unit, a close relation of Paul Nash's Unit One, along with John Luke (artist), Colin Middleton, Mercy Hunter and Crawford Mitchell amongst others. The group exhibited on just one occasion, at Locksley Hall, Belfast in December of 1934. Middleton and MacCann commanded their own section where they displayed the most abstract paintings on show.[3] MacCann had exhibited in Locksley Hall in the previous November with a joint exhibition of the works of Margaret Yeames, Manus O'Keeffe and Joy McKean where the reviewer compliments the draughtmanship in his drawings but questions the originality and finish of his sculptures. MacCann exhibited sculptures of Mercy Hunter, Angel Fish, Stone Woman and Girl's Head.[4]

MacCann was commissioned by CEMA to produce two relief sculptures for the 1951 Festival of Britain at Derry's Guildhall, Derry. He also presented murals in the Northern Ireland section of the main exhibition on the South Bank in London and in the Ulster Farm and Factory Exhibition at Castlereagh (borough). MacCann's work was also included in an exhibition by the Royal Society of Ulster Architects design group, which was held in a bombed out building on the corner of Fountain Street and Castle Street in Belfast, and which also formed part of the Festival of Britain. Other exhibitors included F. E. McWilliam, William Scott (artist) and Rowel Friers.[5]

Throughout much of his career MacCann exhibited with the Ulster Academy of Arts, and it's successor the Royal Ulster Academy, participating in the annual exhibitions of 1948, in the years 1957-1959, between 1965-1967 and post-humously in 1968.[6] In 1953 MacCann was represented at the CEMA exhibition of sculpture at the Ulster Museum.[1] MacCann's work was included in an exhibition of sculpture organised by the Visual Art Group at the Whitla Hall Belfast in 1958, where he exhibited with Jacob Epstein, William Tocher and John Knox.[7] MacCann held a solo exhibition at the New Gallery, Belfast in 1965.[8] In 1966 he exhibited with the Irish Exhibition of Living Art[6] and in the same year MacCann was elected an Associate member of the Royal Ulster Academy.[8]

MacCann's work was wide and varied. He was a prolific writer, and in 1942 the Richard Rowley published a collection of 12 short-stories, Sparrows Round My Brow, which was illustrated by his wife Mercy Hunter.[1][9] In 1953 MacCann became a freelance commercial artist and completed work for the Group and Lyric Theatre, Belfast, and costumes for the Patricia Mulholland Irish Ballet, as well as murals in many pubs and restaurants.[8] In 1961 his murals adorned the walls at the newly opened Spinnaker Restaurant in Kinsale.[10] He also completed murals at the The Royal School, Armagh, which is no longer extant, and at Avoniel Primary in Belfast.[1] In the summer of 1956 MacCann worked with the Colchester Repertory Theatre at Portstewart[11] and he designed the sets for his friend Louis MacNeice 1957 play Traitors In Our Way produced by Harold Goldblatt for Belfast's Group Theatre.[11][12] The following year MacCann designed the set for Joseph Connolly's latest play Master of the House at the Group Theatre, directed by James Ellis (actor), with Harold Goldblatt filling the lead role.[13] He also designed the sets for Gerard McLarnon play Bonefire at the Grand Opera House, Belfast in 1958.[14] In 1963 MacCann paid tribute to his friend Louis MacNeice by travelling to London to make his Death Mask.[15][8]

Death and Legacy

George Galway MacCann died on 4 November 1967 aged 58. He had no children but was survived by his wife Mercy. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Ulster Museum, the Armagh County Museum and the National Self-Portrait of Ireland collection in Cork (city). Three months after his death the Arts Council of Northern Ireland honoured MacCann's life and works with an exhibition, hosted in the Old Library, at Queen's University Belfast as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival.[8] The exhibition opened on what would have been MacCann's 59th birthday. Writing for the Belfast Telegraph, the critic AW Bowyer summed up MacCann's work:

"The work displayed indicates his wide range of interests and his keen observation of the contemporary scene during the last half-century. Those who knew him are aware that these interests embraced other arts, particularly literature, and some costume designs serve to show his contribution to drama"[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Snoddy, Theo (2002). Dictionary of Irish Artists: 20th Century (2nd ed.). Dublin: Merlin. p. 364. ISBN 1-903582-17-2.
  2. "George Galway MacCann ARCA - Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  3. Kennedy, SB (1991). Irish art and Modernism: 1880-1950. Belfast: The Institute of Irish Studies at The Queen's University. pp. 74–76. ISBN 0-85389-402-7.
  4. "Promising young Ulster artists". Northern Whig. 21 November 1933. p. 4. Retrieved 5 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Longley, Michael (1971). Causeway; the arts in Ulster. Belfast: Arts Council of Northern Ireland. p. 27.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Stewart, Ann M (1997). Irish art societies and sketching clubs: index of exhibitors, 1870-1980, M-Z. Vol. 2. Dublin: Four Courts Press. p. 440. ISBN 1-85182-328X.
  7. "Exhibition of sculpture". Belfast Telegraph. 20 January 1958. p. 7. Retrieved 6 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Snoddy, 2002, p.365
  9. "New Portadown author". Portadown News. 19 December 1942. p. 3. Retrieved 6 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. Stallworthy, Jon (1995). Louis MacNeice. London: Faber and Faber. p. 457.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Reminder of our own decor talent". Belfast Telegraph. 12 February 1957. p. 3. Retrieved 6 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Stallworthy, 1995, p.424
  13. Carson, Tom (15 April 1958). "A businessman owes his life to acting". Belfast Telegraph. p. 3. Retrieved 6 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "Preparing for the Bonefire". Belfast Telegraph. 15 August 1958. p. 5. Retrieved 6 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. Stallworthy, 1995, p.478
  16. Bowyer, AW (23 February 1968). "The many moods of George MacCann". Belfast Telegraph. p. 9. Retrieved 6 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links

Add External links

This article "George Galway MacCann" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.