"When I die Dublin will be written in my heart" - James Joyce

The Dublin-born photographer Edward Quinn is best known for capturing the lives of celebrities on the Côte d’Azur during the 1950s and 60s and for recording the enduring friendship with Picasso that enabled him to record the artist at work and play over the last two decades of the artist’s life. There have been numerous exhibitions and publications celebrating Quinn’s career but his 1963 photographs of his hometown of Dublin, have not received the attention they deserve.


    Narrated by Edward Quinn. Song 'Molly Malone' performed by Edward Quinn.
  • Edward Quinn was born in Dollymount in North Dublin in 1920, the younger son of a Guinness brewery worker. Educated...

    Edward Quinn at the Bal de la Rose, Monaco 1956
    Image @ Edward Quinn Archive

    Edward Quinn was born in Dollymount in North Dublin in 1920, the younger son of a Guinness brewery worker. Educated locally, he tried various professions – metal-worker, musician and radio navigator before turning to photography whilst living in Monaco in 1950.

  • The photographer's apprentice years coincided with the rise of the Côte d'Azur as a jet-set destination for film stars, millionaires and royalty, thanks largely to its adoption by Brigitte Bardot and Princess Grace. Quinn worked for Paris Match and a number of agencies, principally Black Star in London and the American International News Service. He was on good terms with many of his celebrity subjects thanks to his attractive personality and was described as "charming, flirtatiously shy, friendly, rarely over-bearing".

  • But Quinn’s artistic ambitions lay beyond being a paparazzo. His discretion and charisma enabled a close friendship with Pablo Picasso, who allowed Quinn unfettered access to his working practice and leisure time from 1951 until Picasso’s death in 1973. Quinn went on to photograph a number of important European artists such as Francis Bacon and George Baselitz, with whom he developed a close friendship, photographing Baselitz into the 1980s.

  • Quinn’s photographic legacy is enshrined in his archive, which contains 180,000 negatives alongside thousands of vintage prints as well as the paraphernalia of a working photographer – contact sheets, book dummies and press cuttings. The archive is managed by his heirs who have allowed us access in order to select the group of vintage prints of Dublin that are shown here, many of which are being exhibited for the first time.

  • Edward Quinn

    Children in the grounds of a school in Kildare Street, Dublin 1963 Vintage silver gelatin print
    Paper Size: 22.7 x 29.7 cm
  • Quinn’s Irish identity was important to him and he made numerous visits to Ireland throughout his life. He felt a connection with James Joyce, whose fictional universe centres on the Dublin of his youth and who also left Dublin for Continental Europe as a young man. Quinn began to read Joyce in the 1950s, whilst living in the South of France, and was struck by the parallels between his childhood and the places described by Joyce.

  • “I remember having paced and explored the same streets, rambled along the same beaches …. A few years ago I...
    Edward Quinn
    Grandparents and grandchildren with dog, Portland Row, Dublin 1963
    Silver gelatin print, printed later
    Paper Size: 22.4 x 30.4 cm
    Signed by Gret Quinn, titled and dated in pencil on verso

    Artists wet stamp on Verso

    “I remember having paced and explored the same streets, rambled along the same beaches …. A few years ago I decided to go to Dublin during the early summer and try to catch the flavour and atmosphere of the city and its people. I tried to work in the same way as Joyce himself, using a reportage style, a method he had recorded in Stephen Hero.” - Edward Quinn

     Click 'view more details' on the image above to find more literature on this photograph.

  • Edward Quinn

    Mulligan's Pub, Butt Bridge, Dublin 1963 Vintage silver gelatin print
    Paper Size: 20.4 x 25.8 cm
  • Quinn describes how he “rambled around Dublin from dawn until dusk, but instead of catching and noting words and phrases, I caught the little incidents of the people’s daily life and the atmosphere of the places, with a small unobtrusive camera”. These images would eventually be published in Edward Quinn, James Joyce’s Dublin, with selected writings from Joyce’s works, in 1974. 

  • Edward Quinn
    Boys laughing and smiling, Dublin 1963
    Vintage silver gelatin print
    Paper Size: 19.4 x 30.5 cm
    Signed by Gret Quinn, titled and dated in pencil on verso

    Artist’s wet stamp on verso
  • Each of Quinn’s photographs is accompanied with a passage of text from one of Joyce’s works (which you can read here in the ‘literature’ section which you’ll find when you click each image). The book includes an introductory note by Samuel Beckett who suggests that Quinn “really captures the atmosphere, humour and essence of Joyce’s Dublin. The pictures are fascinating and will certainly aid readers in getting a clearer insight and a fuller understanding of James Joyce’s work”. 


  • Edward Quinn, Crowd crossing, O'Connell Street, Dublin 1963

    Edward Quinn

    Crowd crossing, O'Connell Street, Dublin 1963

    "Cityful passing away, other cityful coming, passing away too: other coming on, passing on. Houses, lines of houses, streets, miles of pavements, piledup bricks, stones. Changing hands. This owner, that. Landlord never dies they say. Other steps into his shoes when he gets his notice to quit. They buy the place up with gold and still they have all the gold. Swindle in it somewhere. Piled up in cities, worn away age after age. Pyramids in sand. Built on bread and onions. Slaves. Chinese wall. Babylon. Big stones left. Round towers. Rest rubble, sprawling suburbs, jerrybuilt, Kerwan’s mushroom houses, built of breeze. Shelter for the night. No one is anything." - Ulysses, Lestrygonians, Page 153.


    James Joyce's Dublin, with Selected Writings from Joyce's Works, (Nice, 1974), Page 64.

  • Edward Quinn, The bar of the Grosvenor Hotel near Westland Row Railway Station, Dublin, 1963

    Edward Quinn

    The bar of the Grosvenor Hotel near Westland Row Railway Station, Dublin, 1963

    "He sat a long time over it. The shop was very quiet. The proprietor sprawled on the counter reading the ‘Herald’ and yawning. Now and again a tram was heard swishing along the lonely road outside. As he sat there, living over his life with her and evoking alternately the two images in which he now conceived her, he realized that she was dead, that she had ceased to exist, that she had become a memory. He began to feel ill at ease. He asked himself what else could he have done. He could not have carried on a comedy of deception with her; he could not have lived with her openly. He had done what seemed to him best. How was he to blame? Now that she was gone he understood how lonely her life must have been, sitting night after night, alone in that room. His life would be lonely too until he, too, died, ceased to exist, became a memory – if anyone remembered him."


    Edward Quinn, James Joyce's Dublin, with Selected Writings from Joyce's Works (Nice, 1974), Page 41.

  • Edward Quinn, Old man with pipe, Arran Quay, Dublin 1963

    Edward Quinn

    Old man with pipe, Arran Quay, Dublin 1963

    "Turn your coat, strong character, and tarry among us down the vale, yougander, only once more! And may the mosse of prsperousness gather you rolling home! May foggy dews bediamondise your hooprings! May the fireplug of filiality reinsure your bunghole! May the barleywind behind glow luck to your bathershins! ‘Tis well we know you were loth to leave us, winding your hobbledehorn, right royal post, but, aruah sure, pulse of our slumber, dreambookpage, by the grace of Votre Dame, when the natural morning of your nocturne blankmerges into the national morning of golden sunup and Don Leary gets his own back from old grog Georges Quartos as that goodship the Jonnyjoys takes the wind from waterlogged Erin’s king, you will shiff across the Moylendsea and round up in your own escapology some canonisator’s day or other, sack on back, alack! Digging snow, (not so?) like the good man you are, with your picture pockets turned knockside out in the rake of the rain for fresh remittances and from that till this in any case, timus tenant, may the tussocks grow quickly under your trampthickets and the daisies trip lightly over your battercops."


    Edward Quinn, James Joyce's Dublin wiith Selected Writings from Joyce's Works, INice, 1974), Page 117.


  • All of the prints in this Viewing Room select were taken by Edward Quinn in Dublin during the early summer of 1963. They were hand-printed by the photographer and have a rich tonality that is typical of a photographer who is at one with his medium of choice. Some of the images were included in the 1974 publication and these have accompanying text by Joyce, as selected by Quinn.





  • Pages from Edward Quinn's, James Joyce's Dublin, with Selected Writings from Joyce's Works

    Published by Secker and Warburg, 1974.