Presenting over 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America—as well as the Art Institute’s own important collection of Irish decorative and fine arts—this exhibition is the first to explore the rich and complex art and culture of Ireland during the long 18th century.
The seeds for the exhibition were first planted by historian Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin, who in his 2007 book, Irish Furniture, outlined his vision for “a major exhibition on Ireland’s decorative arts of the 18th century, which would . . . waken up the world to a staggering array of art that was manufactured in Ireland during this period.” Surprisingly, such an exhibition has never before been undertaken on either side of the Atlantic. Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840 expands on the Knight of Glin’s vision to also include paintings, sculpture, and architecture. Irish book bindings, ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, musical instruments, and textiles are also featured in a series of “Made in Ireland” galleries highlighting Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and Waterford as centers of production.
The exhibition is hosted at the Art Institute by SAH member Christopher Monkhouse, the Eloise W. Martin Curator of European Decorative Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago. He has been an SAH member since 1966.
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