Portrait Of A Woman by Estella Solomons (1882 - 1968)

Portrait of a Woman

Date: N.D.
Dimensions: 39 × 48.5cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Bequest of Ms Kathleen Goodfellow, 1980


The subject of this intimate portrait is Solomons’ close friend Kathleen Goodfellow (1891–1980). Born 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, Seumas 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. In 1938 Solomons and O’Sullivan became Goodfellow’s neighbours when they rented one of her houses 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).

During their long friendship, Solomons’ painted her friend several times. Two of these portraits, both bequeath 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


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