Estella Solomons

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Estella Francis Solomons
Born 1882
Dublin, Ireland
Died 1922
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish

Estella Francis Solomons (1882–1968) was one of the leading Irish artists of her generation.

Early life and family[edit]

She was born in Dublin, Ireland, the daughter of Maurice Solomons (1832–1922), an optician whose practice in 19 Nassau St., Dublin, is mentioned in Ulysses. Her family, the Solomons, who came to Dublin from England in 1824, are one of the oldest continuous lines of Jews in Ireland. Her grandmother Rosa Jacobs Solomons (1833–1926) was born in Hull in England. Her brother Bethel Solomons, a renowned physician, master of the Rotunda Hospital and Irish international rugby player, is mentioned in Finnegans Wake.[1] Her brother Edwin (1879–1964) was a stockbroker and prominent member of the Dublin Jewish community. Her younger sister Sophie was a trained opera singer.[2]


In 1898, at the age of 16, she entered the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. She went on to study in London and Paris, and upon her return to Ireland spent some time painting in County Kerry. She studied under two of Ireland's leading artists, Walter Osborne and William Orpen,[3] and was an early member of the Irish impressionist school. She exhibited in the Leinster Hall, Molesworth St., with contemporaries such as Beatrice Elvery, Eva Hamilton and Grace Gifford.[4]

Political activities[edit]

She joined the Ranelagh branch of Cumann na mBan about 1918 and was active in politics before and during the Irish war of independence.[5] She took the republican side in the civil war and her studio was used as a safe house by republican volunteers. She married poet and publisher Seamus O'Sullivan (1879–1958) (real name James Sullivan Starkey)[6] although her parents opposed the relationship as O'Sullivan was not of the Jewish faith. They married in 1929 after her parents had died.[7] She collaborated with her husband in The Dublin Magazine (1923–1958), the renowned literary and art magazine, of which O'Sullivan was editor for 35 years.

Later life[edit]

Estella took up a teaching position at Bolton Street, Dublin. She painted landscapes and portraits, including Jack Yeats, Arthur Griffiths, poet Austin Clarke, James Stephens and George Russell.


TV documentaries on her life have been shown on RTÉ and on the History Channel.[8]

The works of Estella Solomon are held in The Niland Collection, at The Model,[9] County Sligo.


  1. ^ Goodwin, Terry The Complete Who's Who of International Rugby (Blandford Press, England, 1987, ISBN 0-7137-1838-2)
  2. ^ Bethal Solomons One Doctor in His Time by Christopher Johnson - Marion Pitman Books (London 1956)
  3. ^ Goldstone, Katrina (2001). "The Jews of Dublin". World of Hebernia. 6 (4): 146. Retrieved 17 March 2016 – via Gale. (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ Irish Times, obituary, 1968
  5. ^ RIA Dictionary of Irish Biography, 2009
  6. ^ Jews in Twentieth-century Ireland By Dermot Keogh
  7. ^ Estella Solomons
  8. ^ Solomons, Estella (1882–1968) The History Channel[dead link]
  9. ^ The Model