Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

The Old Cinema,
Chatsworth Street,
Co. Killkenny,
R95 XV05,

PSRA Registration No: 001687

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Tel: +353 (0)56 4441229
Fax: +353 (0)56 4441627

Lot 557/0237

Estimate: €550-750

To a Favourite Niece from a doting Uncle

BODKIN, Thomas.
A delightful illustrated manuscript letter to his young niece, Norah Robinson, undated [but 1919], 2 pp (single sheet), on his embossed notepaper (Wilton Terrace, Dublin), with a drawing of two elephants coloured purple and yellow, which he says ‘went strolling gaily down the street past my office’. On the other side is a drawing of an owl, a pussy-cat, a donkey, a cock and a dog all leaning over his garden wall. ‘When I was done dinner the other night I went out into the garden. It wasn’t dark yet. This is what I saw on the wall. Did you ever see such a thing in all your born life ..’ – signed ‘Your loving old Uncle Tom’.
With the original envelope (worn), with a drawing showing a postman struggling to carry a pile of parcels addressed to ‘Miss Robinson, Newberry Hall, Carbury, Co. Kildare’, with two (British) postage stamps, postmarked May [19]19.
Tom Bodkin [1887-1961], a close friend of Jack Yeats, practised as a barrister until 1916, when he became Secretary to the Commissioners for Charitable Donations. He was Director of the National Gallery of Ireland 1927-35, and later professor of fine arts in Birmingham, and first Director of the Barber Institute there. His Report on the Arts in Ireland (1951) led to the establishment of the Arts Council. On this evidence, he could have made a good living as an author of books for children. (1)

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