The Irishness of Francis Bacon

This year’s Irish in Britain Seminar Series continues at London Metropolitan University next Thursday evening with:

The Irishness of Francis Bacon

Bernard Canavan

Francis Bacon is the most internationally known painter ever to come out of Ireland, though he never went to art school and did not really start painting until his mid thirties. The subject matter of his art – man in a modern Godless world – is what made his art celebrated by many and reviled by others. It may have been the reason why he even denied he was Irish. In spite of having been born and grown up there, Ireland during Bacon’s youth was probably, in terms of church observance, the most Catholic country in the world. Today Ireland has radically changed. Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery hosts his London studio as it’s centrepiece and has the main research centre on his life and art. Bernard Canavan, who was a young painter in London in the 1960s, met Bacon a number of times and was profoundly influenced by his art. In this talk, Bernard will explore the Irish dimension of his work.

Bernard Canavan emigrated to England in 1959 where he worked at a variety of manual jobs. During the 1960s he worked as an illustrator for the underground press in London on magazines such as Oz and IT. In the 1970s he read politics, philosophy and economics at university and has taught Irish history at a number of institutions including Birkbeck College, University of London and the Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith. His paintings of Irish migrant life have been exhibited widely.

Thursday 12 November

6.30 – 8.00 p.m       

 Attendance is FREE and there is no requirement to register in advance.

Room TM1-45, London Metropolitan University, Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road, N7 8DB

Tube: Holloway Road (Piccadilly line)

Buses: 43, 153, 263, 271, 393

How to get there:

Over the last three centuries, Irish migration to Britain has been marked by a number of recurring social and cultural characteristics. Personal experiences of migration, however, invariably reveal nuances and differences to these norms and encourage us to continually reassess our understanding and appreciation of what it means to leave one country and go to live and work in another. This year’s seminar series focuses on five prominent public figures in Britain and explores how migration became a formative and enduring influence on the shape of their careers and their sense of Irish identity.

The series concludes with:

19 Nov: Jerry O’Neill: publican, playwright, novelist & founder of The Sugawn Theatre, Balls Pond Road

Prof. Ken Worpole, London Metropolitan University

The Irish Studies Centre is located in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at London Metropolitan University and has provided a forum for teaching, learning and research since 1986. The Irish in Britain Seminar Series offers an opportunity for members of the public as well as students and scholars to debate and disseminate the latest research on Ireland, migration and the diaspora.

For further information contact Tony Murray: