The launch of a book in aid of the Jack & Jill Foundation, which has an original Jack B. Yeats drawing on the cover, will take place next Friday at 6.30pm in the Riverbank Arts Centre.
The book is a republication by Kildare Library and Arts Services of Thomas Bodkin’s, ‘My Uncle Frank’.
“Thomas Bodkin, Professor of the Barber Institute in Birmingham, originally published his light-hearted memoir of his days as a child in the company of his uncle in 1941,” said Mario Corrigan of Newbridge library. “It is set in the fictional house Beauparc in the fictional village of Kilcolman, near Newbridge around the turn of the last century — it was in fact Newpark House, near Kilmeague.”
The uncle in question, identified as Dr Frank MacMahon in the story, was Francis Joseph McDonagh, Medical Officer for the Kilmeague and Robertstown District.
“Bodkin tried to do his own drawing but he was a very average artist and he turned to his friend Jack B. Yeats, who had at one time made a career as an illustrator”, he added. “The drawing of Uncle Frank driving his spirited horse, Black Jack, with the Hill of Allen in the distance and the swallows wheeling in the evening air became the cover of this new book.
“Eventually the drawing passed from Emma Bodkin to her nephew and godson, Dick Robinson.
“In 2010, Dick was adamant that the Jack B. Yeats drawing would go to Kildare and be put on display where the people of Kildare could enjoy it because it has a unique Kildare connection.His friend and neighbour,
Cecil Potterton, organized everything.” The drawing is currenlty displayed in the Riverbank Arts Centre and will remain within the care of Kildare County Council.