The archive includes unseen sketches, paintings and unpublished poems by the writer and painter whose life inspired the Oscar-winning film My Left Foot starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Among the large cache of private letters are a number from his life-long correspondence with Katriona Maguire who starting visiting Christy in his adolescence and who nurtured his love of writing and painting.
According to Bonhams which sold the archive, the 43 letters run from 1945-1976, five years before his death. Five were written with his left foot before he was advised to stop doing this to develop more control over his other limbs.
Christy Brown became an international celebrity with the publication of his best selling autobiography, My Left Foot, in 1954 and his work gained new recognition when a film of the book was released in 1989. Daniel Day Lewis won the first of his three academy awards for best actor for his portrayal of the writer.
Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan welcomed the fact that the personal and family archive will have a permanent home in Dublin, Christy Brown’s home town.
Christy Brown pic.twitter.com/XjzpMjHkfw— Carla (@luvparis) March 19, 2014
“Christy Brown was an amazing individual who overcame great personal difficulties, to become one of Ireland’s best known authors and painters,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate the acting director of the National Library of Ireland, Catherine Fahy and the director of the Little Museum of Dublin, Trevor White, for ensuring that this archival collection, a wonderful piece of our cultural and literary heritage, will be preserved for, and made accessible to, the people of Ireland. This is a wonderful example of our cultural institutions workingtogether,” he said.