Buy a Book for Jack & Jill
On Friday, 25th May 2012, the launch of a book in aid of the Jack & Jill Foundation, will take place at 6.30 p.m. in the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge. It is a re-publication by Kildare Library and Arts Services of Thomas Bodkin's, 'My Uncle Frank'. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Jack & Jill Foundation, so this is a great way to support one of the best known and best loved charities in the country.
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 Co. Kildare, in 1941. It is set in a 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, in Co. Kildare. The uncle in question, identified as Dr. Frank MacMahon in the story, was Francis Joseph McDonagh, M.D., Medical Officer for the Kilmeague and Robertstown District.
In 1940 Thomas Bodkin was in Birmingham. The world was in turmoil as World War II raged. He wrote My Uncle Frank as a distraction to alleviate the boredom of fire-watching. Bodkin tried to do his own drawings 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. 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 late 2010 Dick Robinson sold Newberry Hall and gifted many fine paintings to the Friends of the National Collections, but he was adamant that the Jack B. Yeats drawing would stay in Co. Kildare and be put on display where the people of the county could enjoy it. His friend and neighbour, Cecil Potterton, organized everything.
As part of the process of honouring Dick for his wonderful gift, and to explain the reasoning behind the gift, Kildare Library and Arts Services committed to re-publishing the long-forgotten memoir by Thomas Bodkin, My Uncle Frank. The book is now as much a part of the story of the drawing as the drawing was a part of the story when it was first published in 1941. Its re-publication is also part of the commitment of Kildare Library and Arts Services and Kildare County Council to promoting the unique and varied history of the county and making it accessible.
We thank Dick Robinson from the bottom of our hearts, and the people of Kildare will thank him as they come to view the drawing that is displayed in the Riverbank Arts Centre for all to see. It will remain within the care of Kildare Co. Council and will become a feature of the County Kildare Municipal Art Collection.
It is a ‘charming’ book; not a word we use much today but a word that conjures good memories of days gone by – the Irish Times of 1947 called it, a ’gentle pleasure’, while the Clongownian of 1961 described it as ‘a delightful book of reminiscences, which takes the reader back in time to a county Kildare now gone from memory'. Thomas Bodkin preserved that memory for us and Dick Robinson reinvigorated our interest with his gift of the drawing done for ‘My Uncle Frank,’ by Jack B. Yeats.
Show on that evening at 8pm in the RIVERBANK theatre is Translunar Paradise
€12 concession rate<- Back to the news list