Artist, Set and Theatre Designer
1901 – 1980
Norah Allison McGuinness was born in Lawrence Hill, Londonderry on 7 November 1901 and was educated at Victoria High School. In 1921 she entered the Metropolitan School of Art, Dublin, and later studied at Chelsea Polytechnic, London, and later in Paris. While in London she received her first important graphic design commission, to produce the illustrations for an edition of Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy published in 1925.
She exhibited in New York shortly before the Second World War and created window displays for stores. Having returned to Ireland, she was President of the Living Art Exhibition from 1944 to 1972. In 1957 she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. She illustrated books by W. B. Yeats, designed window displays for shops, and sets for the Abbey and Peacock Theatres. At the Venice Biennale she was one of the Irish representatives and her paintings have been exhibited in London, Dublin, Belfast, New York, Monaco, Derry and Paris.
In 1980 she received an honorary degree from Trinity College, Dublin. She died at Monkstown Hospital, Dún Laoghaire, on 22 November 1980.
Her work is in the collection of the Ulster Museum, Belfast, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Sligo Museum and Art Gallery, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin, and the Hirschhorn Museum,Washington DC.
Location of plaques: 18 Lawrence Hill, Londonderry
Date of unveiling: 17 May 2011
Report of Plaque unveiling available HERE