Cecil Salkeld

Life
1903-? [var. ffrench-Salkeld]; b. Assam, returned to Ireland with mother in 1909; studied under Seán Keating at Metropolitan School of Art (Dublin); later at Kunstakademie, Kassel (Germany), in 1921, aetat. 17, when he encountered Neue Sachlichkeit movement; exhib. at first Internationale Kunstausstellung, Dusseldorf, with Leger, Matisse, Boccioni, et al.; returned to Ireland, 1925; won Taylor Schol. (RDS) with “The Builders”, 1926; contrib. on philosophy of art to Francis Stuart’s short-lived magazine To-morrow, dropping out after the first issue at the time of the fracas over Lennox Robinson’s ‘blasphemous’ story1924; espoused stylised manner from 1935; rejected photographic painting amd espoused smooth use of colour; contrib. to the Bell in [?1944]; “The Triumph of Bacchus” (otherwise “Morning’ and ‘Noon”) mural at Davy Byrne’s, Duke St. Dublin, 1942; became Brendan Behan’s father-in-law when the latter married his dg. Beatrice.

[ top ]

Works
See under To-Morrow, in Journals, infra.

[ top ]

Commentary
Robert Greacen
, Even Without Irene (1969; rep. 1995), which cites comments Kate O’Brien: ‘He [Salkeld] seemed to me to have a contempt for life - which in man so gifted was especially sad. The invalidism of his later years was deplorable, but must have been an expression of wounded pride, a refusal to compete Yet he must be said to have had a good life.’ (p.151; see also under S. B. Kennedy, infra.)

Robert Greacen, Brief Encounters (1991): Salkeld lived with his mother Blanaid - a friend of Ernie O’Malley and others - at 43 Morephampton Rd.; he was a friend of Flann O’Brien and became a character, Cashel, in At-Swim-Two-Birds. (23ff.)

S. B. Kennedy, Irish Art and Modernism (1991), pp.42-44: Cecil ffrench Salkeld ... father in law of Brendan Behan ... studied art in Kassel, Germany (of Grimm Bros. fame); spent much of his time in bed, reading, writing, and chatting; RHA; his local [pub], Reddin’s of Donnybrook; wrote and produced at the New Theatre a play, A Gay Goodnight, with an amateur company (the title from Yeats, ‘..The second best’s a gay goodnight and quickly turn away.’). Kennedy quotes Kate O’Brien: ‘He was a man of too many gifts - none of them sufficiently strong to control him. ... He seemed to me to have a contempt for life - which in a man so gifted was especially sad. The invalidism of his later years was deplorable, but must have been an expression of wounded pride, a refusal to complete [...]. Yet he must be said to have had a good life.’ (pp.42-44.)

[ top ]

Quotations
The Progress of a Painter”: ‘I see no reason to alter my youthful definition of the principle of painting, the minimum of form with the maximum of associations.’ (The Bell, Vol. 14. [?1944], p.69.)

[ top ]

Notes
W. B. Yeats: Salkeld’s painting of “The Centaur” was made as an illustration for a rough draft of the “On a Picture of a Black Centaur by Edmund Dulac”, in Yeats’s collection The Tower, and may be regarded as a part-inspiration for the finished poem. (See Daniel Albright, Poems, 1990; p.666m [note].) Salkeld’s account of the composing of the poem and the poet’s attribution of its final form to the impact of his painting is given in J. M. Hone, W. B. Yeats, [1942] p.326-28. (See A. N. Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W. B. Yeats, 1984, p.249-50).

[ top ]