Irish Institution sign
Irish Institution Archive Collection, NGI Archive
In 1853 Dublin saw the Great Exhibition of art which was almost single handedly financed by the industrialist William Dargan. Following this the Dargan Committee was established to commemorate in some permanent way the munificence of Dargan. Agreeing that an Irish National Gallery would be a fitting testimonial for Dargan the committee donated £5,000 to the Irish Institution, an organisation set up to acquire paintings and gather funds to open a gallery. They did this partially through holding events such as the exhibition advertised in the sign above.