Spanning 1714 to 1830, the Georgian Period in Ireland is characterised by significant urban development, advances in architecture and design, and a flourishing of the visual arts. This exhibition is displayed within two domestic scale rooms, which date to 1724 and once functioned as part of the old Custom House of Cork.

Featured in GEORGIAN IRELAND are pieces of period furniture, books, silver, glass, Chinese porcelain, and fine examples of society portraiture, Irish landscapes, and genre scenes, many of which are drawn from the Cooper Penrose Collection.

Cooper Penrose (1736-1815) was a Quaker ‘merchant prince’ who, with interests in timber and property, benefited greatly from the opportunities available during the later Georgian Period. Together with his brother, the Penrose family established Cork and Waterford Glass. In addition, he assembled a renowned art collection in Cork, which once included a portrait by the celebrated French artist Jacques-Louis David (now in the Timken Museum of Art, San Diego).

Along with John Butts’ iconic View of Cork from Audley Place (c.1750), visitors will have the opportunity to encounter the work of key Irish artists of the period, including James Barry, Francis Bindon, Charles Forrest, Nathaniel Grogan, Thomas Pope-Stevens, and Martin Archer Shee, in addition to works after Joshua Reynolds and by the circles of Peter Lely and Allan Ramsay.

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Ongoing 2020

Crawford Art Gallery and the Zurich Portrait Prize
Crawford Art Gallery is delighted to host the Zurich Portrait Prize 2019 in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland in Cork for the first time. This is the first time the exhibition will travel to a city outside of Dublin, creating a greater awareness of the national talent on display. The exhibition will feature the shortlist as chosen by the esteemed judging panel. For the first time this year a special competition for younger artists, the Zurich Young Portrait Prize has been introduced. The shortlisted works, created by young creatives between the ages of 3 and 18, will be on display with the main prize exhibition at Crawford Art Gallery in Cork from 31 January 2020 until 13 April 2020.


31 January–13 April 2020


“Crawford Art Gallery is delighted to partner for the first time with the National Gallery of Ireland on the hugely anticipated Zurich Portrait Prize exhibition. Annually the exhibition and prize giving generates excitement and presents audiences with fresh perspectives on portraiture. We believe it will enable our audiences to make connections with our wider collection and supports our deeper ongoing collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland.”

- Mary McCarthy, Director of Crawford Art Gallery.

The Award

The Zurich Portrait Prize, now in its sixth year, is open to Irish artists aged 19 and over with an aim to create newfound intrigue and exploration of contemporary portraiture and the possibilities of the medium. The winner will receive a cash prize of €15,000, and a commission worth €5,000 to create a work for inclusion in the National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. There will also be two awards of €1,500 for highly commended works. This is the second year pan-European company Zurich Insurance sponsors the esteemed prize.

Judges for this year’s main prize The Zurich Portrait Prize 2019 judging panel comprises Mike Fitzpatrick, Dean of Limerick School of Art and Design and Director of Cultural Engagement, LIT; Professor Fiona Kearney, founding Director of the Glucksman; and Mick O'Dea, artist and member of the RHA

Explore the winner, highly commended works and the rest of the Shortlist below.


Enda Bowe: Winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize 2019
Cybil McCaddy with Daughter Lulu, 2018
Photograph – C-Type print, 127 x 101.6 cm

‘This portrait traces the emotional connection between a new parent and her baby, evoking traditional compositions of a mother and child. Further scrutiny reveals details including Cybil's piercings, tattoos and adorned nails which, with the urban setting, give a contemporary update to this classical theme. The portrait of Cybil with her daughter Lulu was made on a housing estate in east London and is part of Enda Bowe’s ongoing project titled Clapton Blossom. The series forms a celebration of humanity and social diversity at a time when walls are being built between nations and politics encourages us to mistrust each other.’

Enda Bowe's work is concerned with storytelling and the search for light and beauty in the ordinary. Writers Carson McCullers and John McGahern, and film directors Lynne Ramsey, Eve Arnold and Lenny Abrahamson influence his work. He has exhibited at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Red Hook Gallery, New York, among others. Bowe’s four published books include Coast, Kilburn Cherry, At Mirrored River, and This Thing I Want, I Know Not What. He is shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 (National Portrait Gallery, London).

Highly Commended

Joe Dunne (b.1957), And Their World of Far and Near Things, 2019

Joe Dunne: Highly Commended
And Their World of Far and Near Things, 2019
Egg/oil tempera on canvas, 160 x 240 cm

‘This painting portrays the artist and his immediate family. Although the work contains references to Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas, the initial stimulus was a response to the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2017. What initially began as a contemporary painting of a young woman reading developed into a larger work. This led to a complex composition exploring themes of time, space, transience, portraiture, art and social media, within a familiar everyday setting.’

Joe Dunne was born in Dublin and studied design at the National College of Art and Design. He works within the traditional genres of portraiture, landscape and still life, with occasional forays into more abstract pieces. Egg tempera is a favoured medium, while watercolour and oils also feature in many works. His portraits have received a number of awards including the Keating McLaughlin Medal, 2006, for a group portrait at the RHA, and first prize in the inaugural Davy Portrait Awards in 2008. Portrait commissions by the OPW include former Taoiseach Éamon de Valera and former President Mary McAleese.

Salvatore of Lucan (b.1994), Lucy with 3 hands and me holding onto her Leg, 2019

Salvatore of Lucan: Highly Commended
Lucy with 3 hands and me holding onto her leg, 2019
Oil on canvas, 250 x 130 cm

'Lucy with 3 hands and me holding onto her leg is a painting about my relationship with Lucy. Relationships are hard work. Is one’s love best for another? Here, we are depicted relaxing. I am at the foot of the bed plugging my phone in to charge. My hand is on her foot. She is depicted with three hands: one on her face, one holding a hanky and the other on her phone. The painting’s composition was influenced by a diagram of a flower.’

Salvatore of Lucan is of mixed-race: half Irish and half Bangladeshi. He was raised by his mother, a single parent, who lives with her mother and his younger sister. He mainly makes work about his own life, often figurative domestic scenes. He always wants to represent himself as accurately as possible. Throughout his life, he has been asked where he is from, to which he has always replied ‘Lucan’. This is why he is called Salvatore of Lucan, to represent himself more accurately. Since graduating from NCAD in 2016, he has been living and working in Dublin.

Zurich Young Portrait Prize

Zurich logo
Zurich logo
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Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2019

Ongoing 2020

Following the outstanding success of the National Gallery of Ireland’s nationwide portrait competition, the Zurich Portrait Prize, we are delighted to introduce the first-ever Zurich Young Portrait Prize. This inclusive new art competition launched this year, with the aim of fostering and supporting creativity, originality and self-expression in children and young people. The Prize accepted entries from young people, up to the age of 18, of all abilities, from across the island of Ireland.

Below, you'll see the 20 finalists in four categories (ages 6 and under, ages 7-11, ages 12-15 and ages 16-18), chosen by our panel of judges, which will be displayed in the Millennium Wing Studio from 5 October. The overall winner will be awarded a personalised wooden box of high-quality art materials, specific to their choice of material in their portrait, and a cash prize of €500.

Very special thanks to the hundreds of talented children and young people across Ireland who entered the competition. You inspire us! 

Overall Winner

Mabel Forsyth and Mary O'Carroll (aged 12) | Overall Winner of the Zurich Young Portrait Prize
Mabel Forsyth & Mary O’Carroll, The new age. © the artists

The new age

Photography on paper 

Mary and Mabel (12, Dublin) say: "This photo, which was a joint effort, is meant to show that most people have both good qualities and bad qualities". Mary says: "In my spare time I like to dance and make music videos"Mabel says: "Outside of school I enjoy painting and drawing.". 

Winners in Each Age Category

Callie LePage (aged 6) | Winner 6 & unde

Callie LePage (aged 6) | Winner 6 & under

Sarah C

Watercolour, pencil, marker, jewels, glue, electric lights on paper 

Callie (6, Dublin) says: "I'm 6 and a half and I really like to draw, and I'm going to keep practicing as I want to do portraits every year for the competition. I want to be an artist and a Lego designer when I grow up. My portrait is of my teacher Sarah in Citywest Educate Together, and I really like how it turned out. I used two different photos of Sarah to get the ideas from. I used lots of different things to make it, and my favourite bits of the portrait is the lights and the dots of colour in Sarah's hair." 

Jiaming Zheng (aged 8) | Winner 7-11

Jiaming Zheng (aged 8) | Winner 7-11

The GAP Boy

Pencil on paper 

Jiaming (8, Dublin) says: "My name is Jiaming Zheng, from Third Class in St Brigid’s BNS Foxrock. I loved drawing when I was a kid. I want to introduce myself to you all by my pencil and mirror."

Erin Welch (aged 15) | Winner 12-15

Erin Welch (aged 15) | Winner 12-15


Watercolour and pencil on paper 

Erin (15, Kerry) says: "I really enjoy art and drawing and I hope it takes me places in the future. I generally use the same mediums but I like to explore in other forms of painting and drawing styles occasionally. The portrait I have done of my sister took quite a while and I used my favourite form of mixed media. I drew the picture outside during golden hour to get nice lighting." 

Cara Pilbeam (aged 17) | Winner 16-18

Cara Pilbeam (aged 17) | Winner 16-18

Eire: Study of a Young Woman

Pencil on paper 

Cara (17, Louth) says:"This work is inspired by what it means to be a young woman in Ireland today, on the threshold of her future. I am layered with fabric from different countries that represent our modern day, multi-cultured Ireland. I love traditional aspects of portraiture in works by the artists John Lavery and Johannes Vermeer but I wanted to create a portrait with contemporary elements."

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On 3 February 1919, Joseph Stafford Gibson died in Madrid. In his will, the native of Kilmurry, County Cork bequeathed his collection of ceramics, coins, engravings, miniatures, silverware, watercolours, and £14,790 (today close to €750,000) ‘for the furthering of art in the city of his boyhood.’

The earliest purchases made under the Gibson Bequest coincided with a tumultuous time for Ireland – the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War framing the emergence of the Irish Free State. The young nation’s subsequent neutrality during ‘The Emergency’ (Second World War) may suggest an increasing distance from world affairs that is contrary to the outlook of the Gibson Bequest Committee.

Perhaps informed by the international life of Joseph Stafford Gibson (1837-1919) himself, works collected in his name demonstrate a distinct outwardness and appetite for British and French contemporary artists, as well as those from Ireland. Moreover, exceptional local artists benefited from Gibson Scholarships which enabled them to travel to and study in London, Madrid, Bayreuth, Paris, and Rome.

You are invited to journey through the work of 35 Irish and international artists to locales – local, foreign, and creative – made before the existence of the European common travel area.

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8 February⁠–⁠29 March 2020

Mise Éire – ‘I [am] Ireland’ – presents a selection of works from the collection. As Ireland and Northern Ireland near the centenary of their foundation, the exhibition seeks to address pertinent questions of independence and partition, and the often strained interplay of history, modernity, and nationalism.

Displayed across two gallery spaces, the exhibition is inspired by the Irish-language poem, “Mise Éire” (1912) by Pádraig Pearse, in which Ireland speaks of its lost glory, its shame, pain, and sorrow. Two further poems, written by William Butler Yeats, are drawn upon to frame the changes, both social and political, that shaped the development of this island during the twentieth century.

Works by artists Robert Ballagh, Rita Duffy, Mainie Jellett, Seán Keating, John Lavery, Mary Swanzy, Jack B. Yeats, among others contribute to our understanding of what both Ireland and Northern Ireland have become: can they offer a vision of progress, even utopia, and still account for violence, censorship, inequality, and exclusion?

By no means exhaustive, this exhibition asks who gets to define Ireland.

Curated by Michael Waldron 

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HARRY CLARKE - Darkness in Light (2003)

Until 2 February 2020

Duration: 52 minutes (looped),
Monday-Saturday 10 am - 4:45 pm / Sunday 11 am - 3:45 pm

Back by popular demand, Harry Clarke – Darkness in Light (2003) screens in parallel with MYSTERY & IMAGINATION, our annual exhibition of Harry Clarke watercolours.

Featuring expert contributions from Nicola Gordon Bowe, Peadar Lamb, Ciarán MacGonigal, James Scanlon, and Alan Titley, this documentary presents the remarkable story of a singular Irish artist and the collision between Church, State, and Art in the early twentieth century.

Documentarian John J. Doherty examines the life of Clarke and the controversial nature of his work, culminating in his clash with the conservative Irish Free State over his “offensive” masterpiece, the Geneva Window. Visually spectacular and poetically told, Darkness in Light is a fitting showcase of Clarke’s unique and haunting vision.’
Boston Irish Film Festival

Duration: 52 minutes (looped),
Monday-Saturday 10 am - 4:45 pm / Sunday 11 am - 3:45 pm
Writer / Director: John J. Doherty
Producer: Catherine Lyons
A Camel production in association with TG4 / Irish Film Board
© Camel Productions, 2003

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Daphne Wright: A quiet mutiny

15 November 2019–
16 February 2020 

Crawford Art Gallery announces a large-scale commissioned exhibition of new work by artist Daphne Wright from 15 November 2019 – 16 February 2020 titled Daphne Wright: A quiet mutiny. 

Daphne Wright’s work quietly addresses the human condition and the important stages of life we all pass through, that are at once poignant and mundane.  In this exhibition, over two gallery floors, Wright creates worlds that are beautifully eerie: familiar objects from everyday life come under the artist’s scrutiny including buggies, houseplants a fridge and a child’s drawing. Expanding on her existing sculptural practice, Wright focuses on the materiality of dry, unfired clay creating a dichotomy of familiarity and fragility. Wright’s objects are chosen for their momentary quality, these objects are only fleetingly valued in our daily lives. 

Two new videos also feature:
Song of Songs poignantly investigates the relationships of care adults have with more vulnerable family members and in the film Is everyone ok? we see an older man in poor health with his face brightly painted like a lion bearing the mental scars of a career spent in middle management. Calling out team-building clichés, he intersperses these with personal responses to queries about his wife’s health. The effect is unsettling as he resides at the interface between work and retirement, usefulness and redundancy. 

The exhibition Daphne Wright: A quiet mutiny will be accompanied by a publication with texts by Ellen Mara de Watcher and Oliver Basciano.

Artist Talk: 1p m, Friday 15 November 2019 

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MYSTERY & IMAGINATION Harry Clarke Watercolours

30 November 2019–19 January 2020

This annual exhibition follows the success of Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours and invites visitors to get close to the celebrated Irish artist’s original ink drawings and watercolour studies.

Clarke’s incredibly detailed works illustrate scenes from Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination and John Keats’ beloved poem “The Eve of St Agnes”.

Presented alongside works by fellow artists Margaret Clarke, Seán Keating, and William Orpen, the exhibition will also situate Clarke within his immediate milieu. Delve into the imagination of a true artistic visionary!

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Crawford Art Gallery

Crawford Art Gallery