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President of the Irish Georgian Society Sir David Davies remarked “The completion of the City Assembly House conservation project brings to an end one of the most ambitious initiatives the Irish Georgian Society has undertaken in its sixty-year history. “
This summer the Irish Georgian Society will host a world-class exhibition of eighteenth-century Irish paintings to mark the restoration of the City Assembly House and to commemorate the Society of Artists in Ireland who erected the building over 250 years ago.
The City Assembly House was restored by the Irish Georgian Society as part of a capital refurbishment project beginning in 2013, and recently completed in January 2018. These works included the reinstatement of the octagonal room (built 1766) as an exhibition space and as a performance space, and the provision of a wheelchair lift, providing universal access to the building. The aim of reopening the building will be to once again place the City Assembly House at the centre of Dublin’s cultural life.
Celebrating the building’s original incarnation as the first purpose-built public gallery in Britain and Ireland, the Exhibition will re-assemble works by Society of Artists members such as Thomas Roberts, Jonathan Fisher, James Forrester, Robert Carver, Robert Healy and Hugh Douglas Hamilton, including many pieces which were first displayed in the room in the series of exhibitions the Society held there between 1766 and 1780.
By honouring the pioneering spirit of these exhibitions, IGS aim to provide an insight into the fascinating range of artistic production taking place in eighteenth-century Ireland. As the exhibition catalogues reveal, Georgian Dublin was a hive of creativity, with landscape artists working alongside portraitists, history painters, sculptors, printers and draughtsmen in an astonishing range of media, including oil paint, pastel, marble, wood, glass, wax and hair. With loans secured from national institutions and private collectors, this exhibition will reunite over eighty works by exhibiting Society of Artists’ members. An accompanying catalogue will evaluate these stimulating years; assessing Ireland’s first introduction to exhibition culture and the significant contribution it made to an increasingly self-confident national school of Irish art.
Running for six weeks from Saturday 16 June to Sunday 29 July, the public will have free access to the exhibition, with guided tours and exclusive events to mark the completion of the restoration of the City Assembly House.
Events can be booked online at www.igs.ie/events