George Galway MacCann (1909-1967)

Reclining Figure (c. 1933)

Cast stone/cement fondu

45cm x 35cm x 55cm

Collection of Armagh County Museum

George Galway MacCann was born in Belfast on St. Valentine’s Day, 1909. A sculptor, painter, designer and teacher, he was son to David, a monumental sculptor and his wife Elizabeth. Upon leaving the Royal Belfast Academical Institution in 1926, he studied for three years at the Belfast School of Art under Seamus Stoupe where he met fellow art student and future wife Mercy Hunter. After graduating, MacCann was awarded a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art, London where he studied sculpture. In 1934, following his return to Belfast, he established the Ulster Unit, a multidisciplinary group of artists that had been exposed to modern British and European art and ideas. Other artists involved in the group included Colin Middleton, John Luke and Romeo Toogood, all of whom went on to establish national or international reputations. In 1938, MacCann became head of sculpture at the Belfast School of Art, but this was to be interrupted by the Second World War when he served in Burma and India as a captain in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Upon his return he taught at Sullivan Upper School, Holywood for a short time. MacCann and his wife Mercy were well known figures in Belfast’s art and literary circles, often entertaining at their home on Botanic Avenue. Their many friends included Stanley Spencer, Zoltan Lewinter Frankl, Dylan Thomas, Louis MacNeice and F.E. McWilliam. In 1965 a solo exhibition of his work was held at New Gallery, Belfast and the following year he was elected an associate member of the Royal Ulster Academy. A posthumous memorial exhibition was held at Queen’s University Belfast in 1968. This piece, entitled Reclining Figure is sculpted from stone and was displayed as part of an exhibition of contemporary architecture held in a blitzed building in Belfast as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations in 1951.