The foundation stone of the National Gallery of Ireland.
The Earl of Carlisle opening the National Gallery of Ireland (from the Illustrated London News, February 1864)
A sign for the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, c.1884. | The origins of the National Portrait Collection date back to the 1870s. The galleries to the rear of the Sculpture Hall, originally intended to house Marsh’s Library, had remained vacant and unfinished since 1864. Doyle proposed using this space for a National Historic and Portrait Gallery and, despite the lack of financial support from the Treasury, he proceeded with his plan; the National Portrait Gallery opened in 1884. Today known as the National Portrait Collection, this collection has grown over the years with the acquisition of paintings, drawings, watercolours, sculpture and most recently photographs, depicting Irish men and women who have contributed to the political, social, and cultural life of the nation.
An auction at Christies, The Graphic, 10 September 1887. | In this engraving, Henry Edward Doyle (1827–1892), Director from 1869 to 1892, and his great friend, Lord Powerscourt, a long serving and influential member of the Board, are shown in top hats, to the left and behind the auctioneer. As Director, Doyle frequently travelled to London to purchase works of art at auction.
Photograph of the Sculpture Hall looking towards the entrance, c.1890 Attributed to Robert French (1841-1917) [Lawrence Collection, National Photographic Archive.] | A view of the Sculpture Hall, now known as the Shaw Room, as it was in the 1890s. Louis Pedreschi, who was responsible for the care of the ninety casts on display in the great room, has been identified as the seated attendant. On the left, is a cast of a Caryatid from the Erechtheum in Athens, and visible further back is a cast of the Apollo Belvedere; the original is in the Vatican Museum in Rome. The large windows on the left-hand side allow light into the hall. These were blocked-up in the 1950s and will be re-opened as part of the Gallery’s current refurbishment programme.
Detail of casts on display in the Sculpture Hall, Lower Dargan, c.1900. [Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland]
Photograph of Sculpture Hall looking towards the stairs, c.1900 [National Photographic Archive] | This photograph shows the Sculpture Hall with antique casts positioned along the walls. The image was taken at the beginning of the twentieth century, after the removal of the gas lighting. Of particular note are the statue of the Laocoön on the left, and the casts of ancient Greek bas-reliefs on the wall behind.
Keyhole view of the Portrait Gallery, early 1900s.
Exterior of the National Gallery of Ireland, c.1903. The building of the Milltown Wing and new entrance portico was completed in 1903.
A view of the Milltown Wing, early 20th century.
A decorative panel design for the east elevation of the Gallery by Francis Fowke.
A view through the doorway of Room X, c.1929.
North wall of the Main Gallery in 1864 wing, c.1930.
The Italian Rooms.
South wall of the Main Gallery in 1864 wing, c.1930.
Photograph of Room 10 looking into Room 11, Upper Dargan Wing, c.1930.
A view of the Gallery's stairwell, 1968.
Moving works for the Yeats exhibition, 1972.
Gallery Chairman, William Finlay with Lady Clementine and Sir Alfred Beit and the Gallery Director, Homan Potterton, December 1986.