Original photograph of Seamus Heaney at his 70th birthday in his home in Dublin, in the year 2009 / Titled and Signed by John Minihan in 2014 / The vintage photograph is here mounted together with the original commemoration Stamp and signed First Day Cover of Anpost [The photograph was used as a Template for the creation of the Anpost Stamp in 2014].
Vintage Photograph on archival paper / Vintage First Day Cover with extra signature by John Minihan. Dublin, 2014. Image of the Photograph: 16 cm x 24 cm / First Day Cover: 18 cm x 12 cm. Overall Framed Size: 79 cm wide x 53,5 cm high. From the personal library of irish photographer John Minihan. Titled and signed by John Minihan. Beautifully framed (see multiple images on our website). Our company knows of an edition of four photographs and signed First Day Covers, which we bought from John Minihan in 2014 and which he signed in 2014. Later, signed First Day Covers are circulating and we have some of those in our archive for sale. But since John Minihan has sold the rights to most of his iconic images to UCC in Cork, none of the photographs are reprinted by the photographer and that makes this combination of the signed Seamus Heaney photograph, combined with the First Day Cover, signed actually on August 28th of 2014, very scarce. We have an edition of 3 (three) left. One is part of the “John Minihan Photography Collection”, which we are selling on our website (see under “Libraries & Collections”) and two are for sale on the free international market. The here offered, beautifully framed version, is the one which belongs to the John Minihan Collection and will only sell together with the collection.
John Minihan is an Irish photographer, born in Dublin in 1946 and raised in Athy, County Kildare. At the age of 12 he was brought to live in London, and went on to become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail. At the age of 15 he won the Evening Standard amateur photography competition. At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives.
The work of Minihan in Athy makes up a large part of his canon. Minihan began taking photos in Athy when he was 16. The photos are an attempt to document the lives of the ordinary people of the town in their day to day business and also in times of joy and sadness, notably during the wake of a woman called Katy Tyrrell.
In between documenting Athy on visits home, Minihan continued his career on Fleet Street, which included the iconic snap of the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the garden of the nursery at which she worked, the morning sun to her back, her legs in silhouette through her skirt. Diana had just been announced as the Prince of Wales’s love interest and photographers raced to take her photo, Minihan having the fortune to turn up first.
Over the years Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men. Minihans photos of Beckett are some of his best known, one in particular is described as one of the greatest photos of the twentieth century. William S. Burroughs once referred to Minihan as “a painless photographer”.
Minihan is perhaps best known for his photographs of Samuel Beckett. Minihan first expressed a desire to photograph Beckett in 1969, following Becketts winning of the Nobel Prize for literature, having noticed that all the available photos of Beckett were of a poor quality;
‘We were running a story but discovered there were only two very vague images of Beckett taken many years before. It was like he didn’t exist – that was the moment I decided I wanted to meet this man and take his photograph.’
Minihan first encountered Beckett in London in 1980, while Beckett was working on a production of one of his own plays, Endgame. Minihan met Beckett in the Hyde Park hotel and showed him some of his photos of Athy to break the ice. The two met on a number of occasions over the next few years, but it was not until 1985 that they met in Paris. They arranged to meet in the restaurant of the Hotel PLM, a regular haunt of Beckett. At ten to five, with the light fading, Minihan took the photo that would go on to be called by some as the photograph of the twentieth century. John Calder credited Minihan with capturing,
‘the introspective, infinitely sad gaze of a man looking into the abyss of the world’s woes’.
Among his numerous photographic publications are Photographs: Samuel Beckett (1995); Shadows from the Pale, Portrait of an Irish Town (1996); and An Unweaving of Rainbows, Images of Irish Writers, 1996.
He is currently a freelance photographer specialising in ‘the arts’. His book of photographs of Samuel Beckett was published in 1995. His photographs of Athy have been exhibited throughout the world. He was given the freedom of Athy in 1990. Minihan currently lives and works in West Cork.
Minihan’s many exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world include the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1984; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1986; the National Portrait Gallery, London 1987/8 and the October Gallery, London 1990 as well as the Guinness Hop Store, Dublin 1991. (Wikipedia)
Seamus Justin Heaney MRIA (13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013) was an Irish poet, playwright and translator. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Among his best-known works is Death of a Naturalist (1966), his first major published volume. Heaney was and is still recognised as one of the principal contributors to poetry in Ireland during his lifetime. American poet Robert Lowell described him as “the most important Irish poet since Yeats”, and many others, including the academic John Sutherland, have said that he was “the greatest poet of our age”. Robert Pinsky has stated that “with his wonderful gift of eye and ear Heaney has the gift of the story-teller.” Upon his death in 2013, The Independent described him as “probably the best-known poet in the world”.
Heaney was born in the townland of Tamniaran between Castledawson and Toomebridge, Northern Ireland. His family moved to nearby Bellaghy when he was a boy. He became a lecturer at St. Joseph’s College in Belfast in the early 1960s, after attending Queen’s University and began to publish poetry. He lived in Sandymount, Dublin, from 1976 until his death. He lived part-time in the United States from 1981 to 2006.
Heaney was a professor at Harvard from 1981 to 1997, and its Poet in Residence from 1988 to 2006. From 1989 to 1994, he was also the Professor of Poetry at Oxford. In 1996 he was made a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 1998 was bestowed the title Saoi of the Aosdána. Other awards that he received include the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968), the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), the T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999). In 2011, he was awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize and in 2012, a Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust.
Heaney is buried at the Cemetery of St Mary’s Church, Bellaghy, Northern Ireland. The headstone bears the epitaph “Walk on air against your better judgement”, from one of his poems, “The Gravel Walks”.
Upon Heaney’s death, Poet Michael Longley, a close friend of Heaney, said: “I feel like I’ve lost a brother.” Thomas Kinsella said he was shocked, but John Montague said he had known for some time that the poet was not well. Playwright Frank McGuinness called Heaney “the greatest Irishman of my generation: he had no rivals.” Colm Tóibín wrote: “In a time of burnings and bombings Heaney used poetry to offer an alternative world.” Gerald Dawe said he was “like an older brother who encouraged you to do the best you could do”. Theo Dorgan said, “[Heaney’s] work will pass into permanence. Everywhere I go there is real shock at this. Seamus was one of us.” His publisher, Faber and Faber, noted that “his impact on literary culture is immeasurable.” Playwright Tom Stoppard said, “Seamus never had a sour moment, neither in person nor on paper”. Andrew Motion, a former UK Poet Laureate and friend of Heaney, called him “a great poet, a wonderful writer about poetry, and a person of truly exceptional grace and intelligence.″
Many memorial events were held, including a commemoration at Emory University, Harvard University, Oxford University and the Southbank Centre, London. Leading US poetry organisations also met in New York to commemorate the death. (Wikipedia)