The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland (FNCI)

Image © National Gallery of IrelandCredit

2024 marks the centenary of The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland (FNCI)

The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland (FNCI) was founded in 1924 by Sarah Purser (1848-1943), a distinguished portrait painter and prominent figure in twentieth-century Irish cultural life. Purser, alongside a like-minded group of philanthropists, understood the need to support the development of the national collection through the acquisition of historically important works. The FNCI was principally concerned with ensuring the representation of both modern European painting and contemporary Irish artists in public institutions. 

The National Gallery of Ireland has benefitted greatly from the generosity of the FNCI. The organisation facilitated the acquisition of artworks across a variety of media, from oil paintings and works on paper to stained glass and textiles. Several key artworks in the collection, including Hugh Douglas Hamilton’s Cupid and Psyche in the Nuptial Bower (1792-1793); Seán Keating’s An Allegory (1924); Jack B. Yeats’ Many Ferries (1948); and Evie Hone’s stained glass panel Saint Christopher (c.1940s) were acquired through the FNCI. Recent acquisitions include two etchings by Estella Solomons: Hoey’s Court, Birthplace of Dean Swift (c.1915), and Kings Inns, Dublin (c.1915).

In its centenary year, the FNCI continues its mission to acquire works of art for public institutions, in addition to providing grants to assist institutions in developing their collections.

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