Restoration of the Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Programme Provides Funds To Restore Iconic Maclise Masterpiece

 

18th November 2010

Bank of America Merrill Lynch today announced that through its Art Conservation Programme, the company will provide funding to the prestigious National Gallery of Ireland to facilitate the restoration of the iconic The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (1854).

The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife is one of the most important and popular Irish pieces in the National Gallery's collection. Painted by the accomplished historical painter, Daniel Maclise (1806-1870), it has challenged, inspired and confounded for generations. The picture, which is viewed by approximately 750,000 people every year, depicts an event traditionally regarded as pivotal in Ireland's history.

The conservation of The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife is one of 10 international projects being announced this week that will benefit from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Programme's inaugural year. Funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the programme will not only restore works of art that display important cultural and historical value throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa - but will also raise awareness of the important role that conservation plays in ensuring that works of art are preserved, displayed and enjoyed by future generations.

Peter Keegan, Country Executive for Ireland at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said: "We are privileged to support the National Gallery of Ireland in conserving this incredible piece of Irish history, The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife. Funding from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation programme will ensure that this vital artistic treasure can be conserved to the highest standards and enjoyed by the public for many more years to come."

The Maclise painting will undergo a preliminary technical examination conducted with the most up-to-date non-invasive procedures. Photographic documentation, identification and examination of elements prior to conservation treatments will make it possible to gain an understanding of Maclise's technique as well as identifying any problems associated with this.

Investigations carried out with ultraviolet and infrared reflectography and radiography will enable conservators to investigate areas of over-painting, as well as any original under drawings and alterations to the composition. The painting, which presents extraordinary conservation challenges because of its size, requires a selection of structural treatments. There will be an opportunity to view webcam footage of the conservation work in progress on the Gallery's website.

Dr. Brendan Rooney, Curator of Irish art at the National Gallery of Ireland, said: "Historical subjects of this kind are relatively rare in Irish art, and Cork-born Maclise's technical ability was exceptional. The painting is as much a grandiose record of the artist's modish fascination for antiquarian detail and drama as it is an account of a momentous historic event. It has been studied by scholars of numerous disciplines, from archaeologists and historians to botanists, but also appeals to a general audience who realise its artistic brilliance."

Raymond Keaveney, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, added: "An important part of the Gallery's remit is to care for and maintain the collection for future generations. We are most grateful to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for their support with this project."

Rena De Sisto, Global Arts and Culture executive, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: "By helping to restore the art of many nations, we hope to elevate awareness of cultural traditions around the world and inspire respect and interest across cultural boundaries. While new technologies have made art conservation safer and more effective, the process consumes a significant portion of museums' budgets. This is a propitious time to actively engage in preserving these treasures."

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Programme is an extension of the company's existing global commitment to supporting the arts, demonstrated by a multi-tiered programme of sponsorships and grants as well as loans to museums from its own collection.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

As a company doing business in more than 100 countries, and with nearly 300,000 employees, Bank of America Merrill Lynch helps a broad spectrum of arts programmes thrive. Support comes in many forms such as grants, sponsorships and loans to museums from its own art collection, and most recently, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Programme.

Other current or near term programmes include: sponsorship of Gauguin: Maker of Myth at Tate Modern, London; global sponsorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; sponsorship of Manet: The Man who Invented Modern Art at Musée D'Orsay, Paris, and exhibitions from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Collection at the Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris and Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch supports nearly 6,000 arts organisations worldwide, in the belief that greater cultural understanding can foster increased opportunities for all.

National Gallery of Ireland

The Maclise painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1854. It was presented to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1879 by Sir Richard Wallace.

The National Gallery of Ireland was established by an Act of Parliament in 1854 and opened to the public in January 1864. It houses over 13,000 items comprising a collection of Irish and European fine art.

Admission is free to the permanent collection.


NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information on Bank of American Merrill Lynch's Global Art Conservation Programme, contact:
Hannah Mercer, Cohn & Wolfe, London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7331 2359
Email: hannah.mercer@cohnwolfe.com

For further information on the Maclise project at NGI, contact
Valerie Keogh / Emma Pearson
Press & Communications Officer
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
Tel: + 353 1 661 5133 Email: press@ngi.ie


Details of all conservation programmes

Arab Image Foundation, Beirut

Latif el Ani (Iraqi, b. 1932) photography collection

Hashem el Madani (Lebanese, b. 1928) photography collection
The Courtauld Gallery, London

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640) Cain Slaying Abel, 1608-1609, oil on panel
Monastero della Certosa del Galluzzo, Florence


Jacopo Carucci Pontormo (Italian, 1494-1557) Road to Calvary, lunette from the fresco cycle of The Passion, 1523-1525, fresco (transferred), restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi

Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret, Nice

Agnolo Tori di Cosimo di Mariano known as Bronzino (Italian, 1503-1572) Crucified Christ, ca. 1540, oil on panel, restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Winged Victory of Samothrace, 190 BC, marble sculpture, Greece
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) Woman in Blue, ca. 1901, oil on canvas
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Daniel Maclise (Irish, 1806-1870) The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, 1854, oil on canvas
Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Agnolo Tori di Cosimo di Mariano known as Bronzino (Italian, 1503-1572) Portrait of Lorenzo Lenzi, 1527-1528, oil on panel, restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Three works by Vigilius Eriksen (Danish, 1722-1783):

Portrait of Catherine the Great in her Coronation Robes, 1762, oil on canvas
Portrait of Grigory Orlov in Roman Armour, 1766-1772, oil on canvas
Portrait of Alexey Orlov in Turkish Dress, 1766-1772, oil on canvas
Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880-1938) Scene in a Forest (Mortizburg Ponds) (recto) and Nude in the Studio (verso), ca. 1910, oil on canvas
Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Agnolo Tori di Cosimo di Mariano known as Bronzino (Italian, 1503-1572) Allegory with Venus and Cupid, 1545, oil on panel, restored through the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
Westminster Abbey Foundation, London
National treasures, coronation materials, rare medieval objects, manuscripts and books, documents and drawings:

Cosmati Pavement, mosaic tile,1268

Portrait of Richard II Enthroned in Coronation Robes, paint on wooden panels, ca. 1398

Stained glass panel depicting the head of Catherine of Aragon, early 16th century

Liber Regalis, illuminated manuscript on vellum, 1382

Coronation of Elizabeth II Silk Embroidery Panels for Regalia Table and Royal Boxes, 1953

Purcell Coronation Music, 1685

Mary II Coronation Chair, 1689

Portrait of Elizabeth I, paint on woodpanels, mid 18th century, painted over original of 1594

Wren Model, wooden architectural model of the Abbey, Sir Christopher Wren, ca. 1720

Charter of 1560

Chaucer's lease, 1399
Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa

A group of iziphephetu (beaded aprons) created from the 1950s to the 1980s, worn by girls of the Ndebele people