National Gallery expands its ‘Masterpieces’ display

Bernardo Bellotto (1720-80), 'View of Florence towards the Ponte Vecchio'. On loan from Russborough, courtesy of the Alfred Beit Foundation. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

PRESS RELEASE: 19 December 2011 


National Gallery expands its ‘Masterpieces’ display with Bellotto’s views of Dresden and Florence, ‘Fables and Fairy Tales’ and Turner’s watercolours.

A festive delight is in store for visitors to the National Gallery of Ireland this coming season featuring new displays to ‘Masterpieces from the Collection’.

Highlights include scenic views of Dresden and Florence by Bernardo Bellotto (1720-80), one of the most celebrated Italian artists of the mid-eighteenth century.  His views of Dresden (NGI collection), date to circa 1750 when he was painter to King Augustus III, King of Poland, Elector of Saxony. The Dresden pictures are on display alongside two of the artist’s views of Florence (on loan from Russborough, courtesy of the Alfred Beit Foundation), which were painted by the artist after a brief visit to the city in 1740 when he was just eighteen years old. The Beit Bellottos were commissioned by the Marchese Andrea Gerini (1691-1766), a member of an old Florentine family of bankers and merchants.

‘Fables and Fairy Tales’ showcases some 20 works from the Gallery’s extensive prints and drawings collection, featuring illustrations for fairy tales, poems and stories by John Butler Yeats (Pippa Passes, from Browning’s poem, ‘Pippa Passes’), Richard Doyle (The Triumphal Entry, a Fairy Pageant), Paul Henry (Isabella seeking Lorenzo’s body in the forest, from Keats’ poem, ‘Isabella’) and Harry Clarke (The Little Sea Maid, from Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Fairy Tales’). The works on display date from the 1870s to the 1920s, the majority of which are by Richard ‘Dicky’ Doyle (1824-83), the son of political cartoonist, John Doyle (1797-1868) and brother of Henry E. Doyle, who became the second director of the Gallery (1869-92). Another member of this artistic family, Charles Altamont Doyle (1832-93) whose eldest son was the renowned author Arthur Conan Doyle, is represented in the exhibition with Bank Holiday (c.1870). ‘Fables and Fairy Tales’ continues until 25 March, 2012.

One of the Gallery’s most popular watercolours, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton (1816-1900) is now installed in a specially made cabinet in the Millennium Wing. Due to its delicate nature, the Burton watercolour will be available to view each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays (11am-12noon), and on Saturdays (2pm-3pm).

Opening, as per tradition on 1st January, is the Gallery’s exhibition of Turner’s watercolours featuring the celebrated Vaughan Bequest (1900). This year, the Turners will be complemented by a display of silhouettes and miniatures from the Mary A. McNeill Bequest (1985).


Admission to the collection is free. Entrance to the Gallery is via the Millennium Wing at Clare Street, Dublin 2.

The Gallery will be closed 24th -26th December. For details on events over Christmas and New Year click here.