7 of 42 portraits of Samuel Beckett
by Tom Phillips
coloured lithograph, 1984
27 7/8 in. x 16 7/8 in. (708 mm x 428 mm)
This portraitback to top
Tom Phillips's portrait of Beckett shows him towards the end of his life, during a rehearsal for Waiting for Godot, the Irish playwright's best known work. Expressing his stark view of the human condition, the play was first performed in Paris in 1953 and London in 1955. The line 'No matter try again fail again fail better' is from Beckett's Worstword Ho.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 43
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1984back to top
Current affairsThe Provisional IRA bomb the Grand Hotel in Brighton where various politicians, including the Prime Minister, where staying for the annual Conservative Party conference. The bomb killed five people including a conservative MP, but no members of the cabinet. Thatcher began the next session of the conference the following morning at 9.30 as planned saying: 'all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.'
Art and scienceDr Alec Jeffreys discovers that patterns in an individual's DNA can be identified and that each person has a unique 'genetic fingerprint'. The technique was soon utilised by forensic scientists to help in criminal investigations, and in order to identify human remains, for paternity testing, and to match organ donors.
Ted Hughes is appointed poet Laureate.
InternationalEthiopia suffers severe drought and famine. The Ethiopian government responded by uprooting large numbers of peasants in the worst affected areas and by setting up new villages for the displaced people. However, the planned villages were frequently poorly equipped and many people chose to flee rather than acquiesce with government plans leading to further decline in food production and bringing the total death toll to over 1 million.
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