Jeffrey Morgan (b.1942)
Michael Longley (b.1939), 'Light from Two Windows' (1995)
Acrylic on canvas
125cm x 95cm
Courtesy of Belfast City Council
Jeffrey Morgan is a painter, teacher and illustrator born in south Wales, now living in Co. Antrim. He attended Cardiff School of Art from 1960 to 1962, before graduating from the Central School of Art, London in 1965. Morgan taught in art schools in Hornsey, Colchester and Winchester, then Maidenhead School of Art and Design. He contributed work to many periodicals, including The Observer, The Independent, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. His work appeared at the National Portal Gallery, London; The Minories, Colchester; Third Eye Gallery, Athens; Peggy Wynne, New York; John Moores Liverpool Exhibition; and Woodlands Art Gallery. Morgan and his wife, the Belfast-born writer Patricia Craig, lived in southeast London before moving to Co. Antrim in 1999.
This piece depicts the artist’s friend, the poet Michael Longley sitting in a vernacular cottage at Carrigskeewaun, Co. Mayo. Longley described the secluded landscape of Carrigskeewaun as his “Garden of Eden” and so it is apt that Morgan chose this as the location for such a complex and detailed portrait. As an artist, Morgan prefers to work on a piece for a long period of time and spent two years creating this painting. It was important to him that the correct frame was chosen for the piece, but fate presented an opportunity for him to create one of his own. Following renovations at his local pub in Blackheath, London, a solid mahogany bar was thrown out on the street. Morgan dragged it to his workshop and crafted a frame from the remnants. Upon arriving for its first exhibition in Belfast, the painting was unwrapped and the strong smell of centuries worth of beer and ale emanated from the old patinaed wood.