Portrait of Estella Solomons

Frances Beckett (1880 – 1951)

  • Artist
    Frances Beckett
  • Title
    Portrait of Estella Solomons
  • Date
    N.D.
  • Dimensions
    70.75 × 92cm
  • Medium
    Oil on canvas
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Bequest of Ms K Goodfellow, 1980
Description

Born in Dublin, Francis Beckett or Cissie, as she was known, studied in Dublin and Paris. She was close to the better known artist Estella Solomons and this striking portrait which belonged to Solomons’ friend and benefactor Kathleen Goodfellow, is believed to date from the early period of their acquaintance c. 1904 (1). In that year Beckett and Solomons, accompanied by the artist sisters Beatrice and Dorothy Elvery, travelled to Paris to study life drawing.

Beckett exhibited at the RHA from 1897 until 1908 when she married William Sinclair, a Jewish antiques dealer and friend of William Orpen, who was known as ‘The Boss’ Sinclair. Although Beckett continued to paint, the pressures of marriage and motherhood meant that she seldom if ever exhibited. In 1922 the couple and their four children moved to Kassel, Germany, where Sinclair hoped to find success as an art dealer. Their decision to choose Kassel was influenced by Sinclair’s friend, the Irish artist Cecil french Salkeld, who was based there (2). Cissie’s nephew, the writer Samuel Beckett, was a frequent visitor to their home in Kassel where she helped to foster his interest in visual art.

1. Theo Snoddy, Dictionary of Irish Artists, 20th century, 2nd ed. Dublin, 2002, p.31.
2. Anthony Cronin, Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist, London, 1997, p.75.

Written by Riann Coulter

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