Irish Georgian Society

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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

IGS Year of the Country House Garden

07.07.2021

Posted by IGS

From 23rd September to late November, the IGS is hosting two unique exhibitions in the City Assembly House: In Harmony with Nature: The Irish Country House Garden and Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland's Walled Gardens. Click here to learn more.

Birr Castle, County Offaly

Alison Rosse (Stepping through the Gate, Inside Ireland’s Walled Gardens)

Located on the edge of a town, but within a 150 acre demesne Birr Castle has been home to the Parsons family, later Earls of Rosse, since 1620. While earlier generations had created gardens, much of what is seen and admired today is due to the sixth Earl of Rosse and his wife. He inherited the estate at an early age, and while still young began to travel to the Far East, bringing back seeds and plants for Birr; their presence has helped to make the gardens one of the most important in Ireland, home to an abundance of rare trees and shrubs. Following their marriage in 1935, the Rosses both devoted much time to this project, but also to other areas of the demesne. Inside part of the old walled kitchen garden, they laid out a box parterre, the centerpiece of which is a pair of intertwined Rs, the Rococo design of which is echoed by a pair of large stone urns that came from Bavaria. Around the perimeter of the parterre, a horn beam allée was installed. This might have led to an enclosed, flat-roofed tunnel, but the Rosses encouraged the overhead branches to curve upwards. In addition, arched ‘windows’ were cut on the side that opened onto the parterre, thereby creating views across the space and encouraging greater circulation of light: Alison Rosse’s painting shows a view down the length of one of the hornbeam allées, each of which concludes with a classical statue within an arbour planted with roses. One of the delights of the gardens at Birr Castle is that they continue to be a work in progress, one to which the present Earl of Rosse has devoted much of the past forty years. Every year brings fresh initiatives, underlining the fact that gardens are living organisms which respond best to ongoing developments.

Robert O’Byrne



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'Print REbels' exhibition at the City Assembly House 9th July-27th August 2021

29.06.2021

Posted by IGS

‘Poppies and Downs by Kingston, near Lewes in East Sussex’ by Robert Tavener RE (English, 1920-2004) | October 1972 | Coloured linocut | Signed | Elected ARE 1966, RE 1973

Whether images of boats, Buckingham Palace guardsmen in their distinctive bearskin helmets, English cathedrals or rolling landscapes, Robert Tavener's original prints are varied, rhythmical and colourful. In 1997 Tavener described his prints as representing: “English Countryside and English architecture. Shape, pattern, colour, texture, design. In other words, my subject matter is a personal interpretation of the richness, variety, beauty, and the underlying relationship with the past, of our landscape and buildings”.

Much of Tavener’s work celebrates the sinuous lines of the South Downs and Sussex countryside depicted in lithographs, linocuts, woodcuts and screenprints. Tavener was Head of Printmaking at Eastbourne College of Art from 1953, later becoming Vice-Principal until his retirement in 1980. Tavener lived, for 50 years, in the same home in Eastbourne at the foot of the South Downs, within a landscape that inspired many of his distinctive prints.

Edward Twohig RE (Fellow)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON 'PRINT REBELS'

'Print REbels' at the City Assembly House would not have been possible with the financial support of Northern Trust (Ireland), the Heritage Council and Camilla McAleese.





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IGS Year of the Country House Garden

25.06.2021

Posted by IGS

From 23rd September to late November, the IGS is hosting two unique exhibitions in the City Assembly House: In Harmony with Nature: The Irish Country House Garden and Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland's Walled Gardens. Click here to learn more.

Ballynure, County Wicklow

Lesley Fennell (Stepping through the Gate, Inside Ireland's Walled Gardens)

Thanks to its temperate climate and wide variety of trees and plants, Wicklow has long been known as the Garden of Ireland. Some of the best-known and most-visited gardens in the country can be found here: Powerscourt, Killruddery, Mount Usher and Kilmacurragh. There are also many private properties which possess outstanding gardens and demesnes, one of them being Ballynure. The site was originally part of an outlying farm for the Cistercian abbey at Baltinglass, their presence always an indication of rich farmland. In the post-Reformation era, Ballynure was granted by James I to the forebears of the present owner. A Jacobean house was erected, evidence of which can be found in the cellars. The present building dates from c.1800 and has a five-bay façade flanked by gabled, single-bay projections (with their equivalent to the rear). These projections have tripartite windows and, like the rest of the building, overhanging bracketed eaves which here create pediments for the gables. Aside from some minor alterations, little has changed since. Ballynure is approached along a drive of one and three-quarter miles through parkland notable for its fine trees, including beeches, oaks and limes. Over the past quarter century, many improvements have been made to the gardens, which had been developed over the previous 200 years, not least by the present owner’s grandmother, a woman of great energy and a keen gardener.

Robert O’Byrne

The Irish Georgian Society is most grateful to Susan Burke and her late husband Coley who were the inspiration for and provided generous funding for these exhibitions. We also wish to thank the Apollo Foundation, Northern Trust Corporation, Beth Dater, Sheila O’Malley Fuchs, Hindman Auctions, Kay and the late Fred Krehbiel, Jay & Silvia Krehbiel, Frank Saul, John & Nonie Sullivan, Robert & Gloria Turner, and The Heritage Council.



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'Print REbels' exhibition at the City Assembly House 9th July-27th August 2021

22.06.2021

Posted by IGS

Headlights Over the Hill, Seaford. Sir Francis (Frank) Job Short RA PPRE, (English, 1857-1945) 1927

This is amongst Short's rarest and his most highly sought after prints: an edition of 50 was planned but only 34 were printed, plus a handful of proofs, before the clarity of the mezzotint gave way; 22 impressions are in gallery and museum collections. It is an excitingly modern translation of the traditional lamplit theme to an up-to-the-minute night image of an approaching car's headlights on the coast road from Seaford to Newhaven in Sussex. Martin Hardie writes: "The flash of a car's headlights on the coast road from Seaford to Newhaven; in the distance, Seaford Head, and the English Channel to the right." This mezzotint was exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and Royal Hibernian Academy in 1927.

Mezzotint is an intaglio process and created by indenting the metal printing plate by rocking a toothed metal tool across a metal surface. Each pit holds ink and if printed at this stage the image would be pitch black. However, the printmaker creates dark and light tones by gradually rubbing down or burnishing the rough surface to various degrees of smoothness to reduce the ink-holding capacity of areas of the plate. Short’s compositions redefine mezzotint.

Frank Short lived and worked in London and Sussex for most of his life. He is considered one of the leading figures in the field of etching and drypoint and responsible for reviving interest in aquatint and mezzotint techniques.

Edward Twohig RE (Fellow)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON 'PRINT REBELS'

'Print REbels' at the City Assembly House would not have been possible with the financial support of Northern Trust (Ireland), the Heritage Council and Camilla McAleese.

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'Print REbels' exhibition at the City Assembly House 9th July-27th August 2021

15.06.2021

Posted by IGS

Mytton Hall, Sir Francis Seymour Haden CMG FRCS PPRE, (English, 1818-1910), September 1859

Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864 this composition shows the entrance to Mytton Manor Hall in slanting evening light. It is an early example of Haden’s innovative style in which the black velvet burr of drypoint for rich contrasts of light and shadow is exploited. Although drawn initially on the spot, this copper plate went through many states: showing subtle yet vital variations, particularly in the foreground.

Unlike the works of other Victorian etchers, which were mostly narrative in subject and style, this composition is naturalistic, not intended as decorative or anecdotal. This approach was to have far-reaching influence on other etchers and was the reason Haden became established as the leading figure of the British Etching Revival. Haden stayed sometimes three times a year, between 1855 and 1895, at Mytton Hall Hotel, a distinctive Tudor manor house near the village of Whalley in Lancashire, on his salmon fishing trips to the River Ribble nearby. Today, the slightly renamed Mitton is still in business and the architecture depicted in this composition remains unaltered.

Haden was awarded a medal in the 1893 International Exhibition in Chicago for Mytton Hall. This drypoint was published as print number XXIV in Etudes a L’Eau-Forte in 1866.

Edward Twohig RE (Fellow)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON ‘PRINT REBELS’

'Print REbels' at the City Assembly House would not have been possible with the financial support of Northern Trust (Ireland), the Heritage Council and Camilla McAleese.



Read more

IGS Year of the Country House Garden

10.06.2021

Posted by IGS

From 23rd September to late November, the IGS is hosting two unique exhibitions in the City Assembly House: In Harmony with Nature: The Irish Country House Garden and Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland's Walled Gardens. Click here to learn more.

Abbey Leix, County Laois

Maria Levinge (Stepping through the Gate, Inside Ireland’s Walled Gardens)

Abbey Leix was designed in 1773 by fashionable London architect James Wyatt for Thomas Vesey, second Lord Knapton, who became first Viscount de Vesci three years later. The house, as originally built, was an elegant three-storey Classical mansion of seven bays, the three at the centre under a pedi ment. Alterations and extensions were made to the property in the mid-19th century by the third Viscount whose wife Emma laid out a series of terraces to the rear; these are said to have been inspired by the terraces at Alupka in the Crimea, the palace of Lady de Vesci’s grandfather, Prince Worontsov.

In 1995 Abbey Leix was bought by Sir David Davies, now President of the Irish Georgian Society, who embarked on a spectacular restoration, not just of the house but also the demesne, throughout which he has planted a vast number of specimen trees, as well as creating a new arboretum and a new pinetum. The estate’s walled garden, which is accessed via a wrought-iron gate incorporating Emma de Vesci’s initials, lies to the north-west of house and is divided into four compartments, which prior to 1995 had been used as a horse paddock. Each of the four sections now has its own distinctive character, one being planted with Norwegian maple in the geometric pattern of a repeating quincunx, another serves as a ‘Connoisseurs’ Walk featuring many rare plants. Of the other two, one, which contains the frame of the former greenhouses, is a working nursery while the other, seen in this painting, serves as a cut flower garden. In the centre of the space, a low polygonal plinth holds a sundial; designed by Sir Mark Lennox Boyd and presented to Sir David Davies on his 70th birthday by Dame Vivien Duffield.

Robert O’Byrne

The Irish Georgian Society is most grateful to Susan Burke and her late husband Coley who were the inspiration for and provided generous funding for these exhibitions. We also wish to thank the Apollo Foundation, Northern Trust Corporation, Beth Dater, Sheila O’Malley Fuchs, Hindman Auctions, Kay and the late Fred Krehbiel, Jay & Silvia Krehbiel, Frank Saul, John & Nonie Sullivan, Robert & Gloria Turner, and The Heritage Council.



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