Art from East Cork appears on ‘EastEnders’

One of Belinda Northcote's Positivity Collection prints.

A Cork-based artist has been cast into the spotlight after her work appeared not once, but twice, on EastEnders.

Based in Shanagarry, Belinda Northcote’s phone has not stopped ringing after two of her prints were shown on the hit BBC One soap last Friday and Tuesday night.

Ratings from the episode for Ireland and the UK show that approximately 7m people would have seen the artist’s work.

“There was a scene in a waiting room in a hospital,” explained her husband, Maurice O’Donoghue.

Two of Belinda’s prints, the ‘Family Tree’ and the ‘Daily Tails’, were hung on a wall in the background.

The Positivity Candle carries an image of the Positivity Tree.
The Positivity Candle carries an image of the Positivity Tree.

“There were a number of shots and the shots crept in and there were also a couple of long shots where you can see them clearly,” Maurice told the Irish Examiner.

The scene in question starred Letitia Dean, who plays Sharon Anne Mitchell, one of the show’s original characters.

“We couldn’t have asked for more exposure,” said Maurice who was at home eating dinner with his wife and some friends on Friday night when the prints first appeared.

“We all dashed out to see EastEnders when we heard,” he said.

In terms of how the work ended up appearing on the popular TV show, Maurice said he and Belinda attend trade shows such as Showcase in Dublin and work with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland .

“We recollected meeting a couple from the BBC and we gave them our catalogue and they bought some images,” said Maurice.

“We then signed a release to give permission for the images to be used in whatever way.

“Belinda joked and said: ‘Hopefully we might see them on EastEnders sometime,’ and the buyer said: ‘You never know’,” said Maurice who does all the print work for Belinda’s art.

Belinda Northcote operates from her art studio in Shanagarry, Co Cork.
Belinda Northcote operates from her art studio in Shanagarry, Co Cork.

That was last January and seven months later the work did appear on the BBC One soap opera.

“There have been emails and calls from far and wide,” said Maurice, who said people are very “resourceful” when it comes to putting two and two together, referring to the fact that viewers rang the BBC to find out who the artist was.

There is more serendipity to the story as last Friday was also the day that the first ever shipment of Belinda’s latest product arrived.

While her prints already appear on scarves, greeting cards and in framed form, she has just designed a candle as part of her Positivity Collection.

The Positivity Candle arrived on site in Shanagarry on Friday and it carries an image of Belinda’s Positivity Tree as well as a slip of paper which people can write words of hope on.

“You’d be amazed at how much people take these to heart and who buys them,” said Maurice.

Belinda’s work is sold in Ireland in various shops including all the Kilkenny stores, as well as in the UK, Germany, and the US.

Originally from London, Belinda moved to Ireland 16 years ago and has been operating from her studio in Shanagarry for almost eight years now.

She trained as a botanical artist and her work has appeared in the Royal Horticultural Society as well as in a number of historic houses and castles and museums.


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