Portrait of a Woman
Estella Solomons HRHA (1882 – 1968)
© Estate of Estella Solomons. All rights reserved
ArtistEstella Solomons HRHA
TitlePortrait of a Woman
Dimensions39 × 48.5cm
MediumOil on canvas
ProvenanceBequest of Ms Kathleen Goodfellow, 1980
The subject of this intimate portrait is Solomons’ closest friend Kathleen Goodfellow (1891–1980). Born into a Quaker family in Dublin, Goodfellow was a poet and writer who published under the pseudonym Michael Scot. The two women, who were both members of Cumann na mBan, first met during the Easter Rising while sheltering from bullets on Mount Street.
In 1926, Solomons married the poet and editor James Starkey who was better known by his pen name, Seamus O’Sullivan. Together they produced the influential Dublin Magazine which played a significant role in encouraging Irish art and literature from the 1920s until O’Sullivan’s death in 1958. Goodfellow both contributed to, and was the primary patron of this publication. She also directly supported Solomons and O’Sullivan when, in 1938, they became her neighbours on Morehampton Road, Donnybrook. The house, along with many others on the street, was owned by Goodfellow whose private income came from family property (1).
For the fifty years of their friendship Goodfellow and Solomons were almost inseparable. Not surprisingly Solomon’s painted her friend several times. Two of these portraits, both bequested by Goodfellow, are in the Model and Niland Collection, another is in the National Gallery of Ireland.
1. Dardis Clarke, ‘The Dark Lady of the Dublin Magazine’, Irish Times, 13 February, 1981.
Written by Riann Coulter