We are delighted to announce that our first auction of 2021 comprises books, periodicals and other works on paper by Seamus Heaney, including signed first editions, from the Collection of Ed & Mary Conley Downe.
Ed & Mary Conley Downe, a New York couple, were instrumental in the success of the Irish Clifden Arts Festival, now the longest running community arts festival in Ireland. Heaney referred to the festival as ‘this nest of the arts’, and the New York couple became close friends of the poet for the last twenty-five years of his life. During this time they built the comprehensive collection of items listed here, almost all inscribed or signed by Heaney, and including a great many of the rarest Heaney items.
This auction provides a rare opportunity for those who enjoy modern poetry to acquire scarce signed works by arguably the most important poet of the twentieth century, Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney. Born in Casteldawson, County Derry in North Ireland, Heaney studied at Queen’s, Belfast where he became a lecturer at the close of the 1960s. It was during this period that he made his debut as a poet, but continued to divide his time between academia and his writing, whilst working at Harvard, Oxford and Carysfort College in Dublin. ‘Heaney’s poetry is often down-to-earth. For him, poetry was like the earth – something that must be plowed and turned. Often he paints the gray and damp Irish landscape; peat moss has a special place in his poetry. The poems often are connected with daily experiences, but they also derive motifs from history, all the way back to prehistoric times. Seamus Heaney’s profound interest in the Celtic and the pre-Christian as well as in Catholic literary tradition has found expression in a number of essays and translations’ (Seamus Heaney – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Thu. 4 Jun 2020).VIEW THE ONLINE AUCTION HERE