Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Maev's second meeting with Fergus, illustration by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil from The Táin by Mary Hutton, 1924

Maev’s second meeting with Fergus, illustration by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil from The Táin by Mary Hutton, 1924

Seaghán Pádraig Mac Cathmhaoil (John Patrick Campbell) was an Irish artist and designer born to a prosperous middle-class family in Belfast on the 7th of March 1883. In many ways he and his older brother Seosamh, a noted poet and lyricist, were emblematic of an entire generation of artists and writers from Ireland who combined art and politics as part of a wider revolutionary movement. Influenced by Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Celtic ornamental styles he excelled in pen and ink as well as water colours working as book illustrator and cartoonist for a number of progressive publications, including Bulmer Hobson’s The Republic (1907), Ulad (1904-1905) and The Shanachie (1906). As an actor and theatre designer with the Ulster Literary Theatre he joined a tour to New York in 1912 where he elected to stay for the rest of his life. Over the next few years he worked in the city’s theatres as well as exhibiting at the School of Irish Studies, a scholarly centre founded by his brother Seosamh (who had fought during the Easter Rising of 1916) until his death on the 19th August 1962 at the age of 79. His best known works remain the remarkable drawings accompanying Mary Hutton’s verse translations of ancient mythology published in the 1924 edition of the Táin.

Songs from the Four Winds of Éirinn, I Mary of Carrick (1906), picture by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Songs from the Four Winds of Éirinn, II Thinkin’ Long (1906), picture by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Songs from the Four Winds of Éirinn, III The Green Woods of Traugh (1906), picture by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Songs from the Four Winds of Éirinn, IV Niamh (1906), picture by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Songs from the Four Winds of Éirinn, V The Heathery Hill (1906), picture by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Songs from the Four Winds of Éirinn, VI A Beannacht Leat (1906), picture by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil

Illustration by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil from Fréamacha na hÉireann by Aodmain MacGríogóir, 1906

Illustration by Seaghán Mac Cathmhaoil from Fréamacha na hÉireann by Aodmain MacGríogóir, 1906

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