Françoise Henry in Co. Mayo

The Inishkea journals

Janet T. Marquardt, editor

Hardback €31.50
Catalogue Price: €35.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-324-4
July 2012. 172pp; colour ills.

‘A fascinating book that relates Françoise Henry’s astute impressions of what surrounded her in that corner of the world, the rural Irish landscape, and the people who inhabited it. The publication speaks to the growing interest in the study of women’s roles in the development of art history as a discipline … this volume stands out as an insightful and amusing first-person account of an art historian’s struggles to carry on her work in a remote Irish island during the first half of the twentieth-century. It offers a singular perspective through Henry’s experience', Ana Hernández, Journal of Art Historiography (December 2012).

‘Marquardt’s text is well-written and gives context for those unfamiliar with Henry, as well as context on her archaeological work on Inishkea and elsewhere. The book will be enjoyable for art historians with some link to Henry or Ireland, and to popular readers looking for a historical travel journal of the Irish isles', Reference & Research Book News (October 2012).

‘[An] interesting first-person account of life on Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard in the 1930s and ‘40s … this beautifully produced edition of her journals offers a wonderful account of her encounters with the landscape and people of west Mayo and its islands', History Ireland (Nov/Dec 2012).

‘To those familiar only with Françoise Henry’s scholarly publications these discoveries will be a revelation, showing that she could also write extraordinarily evocative descriptions of landscapes, people and a vanishing way of life in the far west of Ireland … The diaries reveal just how fascinated Henry was by all she saw and heard. She had an acute awareness of her physical surroundings, with a painter’s eye for detail and a novelist’s ear for dialogue. Her descriptions of the physical world around her are one of the delights of the diaries … The superb English translation of the transcript is by Huw Duffy. It has been expertly edited by Janet Marquart, whose excellent introduction should be read by anyone interested in Françoise Henry herself or her intellectual background … Over the course of the twentieth century the Irish-speaking islands off Ireland’s west coast inspired charming and indeed significant books by outsiders. These include John Millington Synge’s The Aran Islands (1907) and Robin Flower’s The Western Island or the Great Blasket (1944). Françoise Henry’s Inishkea journals, written it seems with no thought of publication, should now join that list', Niamh Whitfield, JRSAI (2012).

‘These journals have been lovingly translated and edited by Janet Marquardt, and the singular voice of this compelling woman – lyrical, astute – gushes from the page, unplugged at last. The journals brim with evocative, colourful descriptions of the natural environment, as well as descriptions of her interactions with the former islanders she employed – sometimes awkward, sometimes downright difficult, often heart-warming. The generous selection of Henry’s photographs add an enchanting visual dimension to the diaries', Ciara Moynihan, Mayo News (23 July 2012).