Out of the Margins

15 SEPTEMBER 2023 - 06 OCTOBER 2023
The Steward of Christendom 3. Headshot 1. Cover 2. Annotations
The Steward of Christendom
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22. Sebastian Barry

The Steward of Christendom

The Steward of Christendom 
Signed and annotated with illustrations and gold leaf markings 
First edition paperback, published as part of the Royal Court Writers Series 
18.1 x 12 cm 
London: Methuen, 1995

ESTIMATE


£1,000 - 10,000

This auction has now ended

Out of the Margins (22/55)

Notes


“I wrote the final speech straight off… I thought I would have to rewrite it extensively but I never did… It seemed a good way to end the play as it was really a play without an ending… The speech has been used in sermons, at funerals and at weddings...” 

For a deeply personal writer inspired so much by his own family history in Northern Ireland, it is perhaps not surprising that the extensive annotations by the former Laureate for Irish History delve even deeper into the childhood memories, images and recollections which shaped his most celebrated work, The Steward of Christendom. “So many of the images are from my own childhood; what else can you give a character…?” 

Across many hundreds of words of new thoughts and reflections, the author shares intimate childhood anecdotes, both funny and profound, insights into the political and social context which surrounded him during the writing and production of the play, as well as personal feelings about its original cast and creative team. He reflects on his own relationship to religion (“At a Feis in the Father Matthew Hall in the sixties I attempted the Ave Maria and fell between verses…”!) while also pondering the nature of playwriting (“In some desperation before opening, I asked [the director] Max if he should cut all this… “All good stuff,” he said…”). 

Sebastian Barry has woven through these incredible reflections a pallet of colours and original illustrations, from roses, cowboys and buffalo-shaped sheep, which together illuminate the author’s great humour and passion, as well as the moments and memories which continue to resonate with him today.

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