George Galway MacCann

1909 - 1967


George Galway MacCann, known to family and friends as Galway, was born in Belfast on St. Valentine's Day 1909. After school-days at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution he went to the Belfast College of Art to study sculpture under Seamus Stoupe (whom he rightly respected as a fluent modeller) and won a major scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London.

He graduated (A.R.C.A.) in 1932 and was awarded a special prize, largely on the commendation of Henry Moore. Moore, then eleven years his senior, was a young and influential lecturer in the department, and an inspiration which George MacCann acknowledged in a series of sensitively carved reclining figures that brought Belfast "up to date" with the new formalism later in the decade.

George MacCann and Mercy Hunter met first at the Belfast College of Art and were students together in London where Mercy went (a year later) to study lettering and calligraphy under the celebrated Edward Johnston who led the great revival in modern calligraphy, and to whom she was later to become an assistant student demonstrator.

In London they formed part of a colony of Ulster students all of whom have since exercised considerable influence, through their work and teaching, on subsequent generations of Ulster art students. John Luke, F. E. McWilliam, and Tom Carr were at the Slade. Crawford Mitchell (a cousin of George MacCann), William Scott, William Tocher, Romeo Toogood, Jean Harvey and (later) James McCord and Betty Clements and James Warwick (Headmaster of the Belfast College of Art) were all at the Royal College together.

As can be seen from the catalogue, this website at present represents only a very small fraction of George MacCann’s prolific output. Any further information about the current whereabouts of any of his work would be much appreciated.

Co-ordinated by Iain Mitchell, George MacCann’s nephew, Cambridge, England.

Contact at:

and click here for some relative sites


             Crawford Mitchell                    Mercy Hunter                      Iain Mitchell



Educated at The Royal Belfast Academical Institution.


Belfast College of Art.


Royal College of Art, London.


Taught at the Royal School Armagh and Portadown College


Lecturer in sculpture at Belfast College of Art.


Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in India and Burma.


Taught at Sullivan Upper School, Holywood, Co. Down


Freelance sculptpr, theatre designer, painter, broadcaster.


Elected Associate Member of the Royal Ulster Academy.

George Galway MacCann

“..... and to Maguire who makes Belfast in all its grime seem gay".  

from Autumn Sequel by Louis MacNeice, in which George MacCann features under the pseudonym of "Maguire" 

George MacCann

by William Conor

Collection of M. and J. Little