Leaving a Legacy

Detail of a handwritten postcard from G.B. Shaw to Thomas Bodkin
Detail of postcard from George Bernard Shaw to Thomas Bodkin, 7 March 1944. National Gallery of Ireland archive. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Help us to bring people and their art together

As a registered charity, the National Gallery of Ireland relies—now, more than ever—on the support of individuals. With a gift in your will, you will help to safeguard the Gallery and inspire future generations of art lovers.

A gift in your will enables the Gallery to acquire significant works of art which might otherwise be out of reach. Many of the treasures in our national collection have been acquired due to the generosity of people like you.

Once you have made provision for your family and loved ones, we ask that you consider a gift to the National Gallery of Ireland.

A gift in your will—no matter how small or large—will make a real difference to the National Gallery of Ireland.

Frederic William Burton (1816-1900), 'The meeting on the turret stairs' - detail. © National Gallery of Ireland.
Bequeathed, Margaret McNair Stokes, 1900
Oil painting of a woman writing a letter at a table with a maid standing beside her
Presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987

Leaving a gift in your will

Writing your will

There are a number of options you might like to consider when writing your will. The following wording can be adapted by your solicitor to suit the type of gift you wish to leave:

I give, devise and bequeath to the National Gallery of Ireland (registered charity number CHY2345) of Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, Ireland the sum of €xxx (xxx euros)
or
the whole (or xxx% share) of my residuary estate
or
insert details of a specific gift] to hold on trust for its general charitable purposes, and I declare receipt of the Treasurer or duly authorised officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.

 

Adding to your existing will

If you have already made a will, but would like to leave a gift to the Gallery, it is not necessary to rewrite your entire will. You can simply instruct your solicitor to prepare an amendment—a codicil—to your current will. The following wording can be adapted by your solicitor to suit the type of gift you wish to leave: 

I (full name) and (full address) declare this to be a (first/second) codicil to my will dated (day month year). In addition to any legacies given in my said will, I give, devise and bequeath to the National Gallery of Ireland (registered charity number CHY2345) of Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, Ireland the sum of €xxx (xxx euros)
or
the whole (or xxx% share) of my residuary estate
or
[insert details of a specific gift] to hold on trust for its general charitable purposes, and I declare receipt of the Treasurer or duly authorised officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge. In all other respects I confirm my said will and any other codicils thereto.

When making or updating your will, we suggest that you consult with your solicitor to ensure your will and/or codicil is legally valid and reflects your intentions.

Claude Lorrain, Juno Confiding Io to the Care of Argus, 1660.
Bequeathed, Sir Hugh Lane, 1918
Guercino, Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, c.1620
Presented by Sir Denis Mahon to the British Fund for the National Gallery of Ireland, 2008

Other considerations

Gifts of art

If you are considering leaving a specific work of art to the Gallery, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your plans before you commit them to a will, to ensure we can meet your wishes and are in a position to accept your generous gift.

International gifts

For those residing outside Ireland, you may wish to leave your gift to the Gallery via American Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland (a 501 (c) public charity in the US with EIN #27-3373171), or International Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland (a Private Limited Company in the UK with company number 03195458). We suggest that you consult with your solicitor to consider the best option for your wishes.

The Shaw Circle

Everyone who expresses their intention to leave a gift to the Gallery in their will is invited to join The Shaw Circle. Members of The Shaw Circle will receive an invitation to an exclusive annual Shaw Lecture, hosted by the Director of the Gallery, as well as regular updates about the Gallery’s work to show you how your support will make a difference to the Gallery.

Notifying the National Gallery of Ireland

If you are considering leaving a gift in your will to the National Gallery of Ireland, we would love to hear from you so that we can thank you personally. We are also happy to help you with any information you need.

You can contact the Development Office on +353 (0)1 632 5541, at [email protected], or via post addressed to:

Head of Development
Development Department
The National Gallery of Ireland
Merrion Square West
Dublin 2

Please rest assured that all enquiries are treated in strict confidence.

Head of a bronze statue of George Bernard Shaw
Prince Paul Troubetzkoy (1886-1938), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Author, Playwright and Critic (detail), 1927. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

A gift to the nation

In 1944, George Bernard Shaw wrote to Thomas Bodkin (Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, 1927–1935) to seek advice on planning his will. Within that letter, he referred to the Gallery as the place “to which I owe much of the only real education I ever got as a boy in Eire”. 

Shaw left school at 14 years of age. During his youth, he spent many hours wandering through the Gallery and called it the “cherished asylum of my boyhood”. He believed in the power of our cultural institutions to educate, entertain and inspire. 

From his death in 1950, until 2020, a third of the posthumous royalties from Shaw's estate were bequeathed to the National Gallery of Ireland, allowing the Gallery to develop the national collection with the purchase of significant new works, and to invest in our buildings to safeguard the collection and provide an excellent experience for the public. 

By following in Shaw’s footsteps and making a gift in your will, you will create a legacy that ensures future generations continue to find inspiration in our nation’s cherished art collection.

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