The Exhibition Design Story


In this gallery, furniture is displayed in room settings or “vignettes”, in order to give a sense of context to the Furniture Collection.

17th century room vignette

The vignettes are not intended to be full-scale reproductions of rooms: rather, they contain architectural elements copied directly from actual Irish examples appropriate to each century.

Also included are examples of contemporary artefacts from other collections in the National Museum of Ireland.

17th Century

In the 17th-century bedroom vignette, the wall panelling is copied from early 17th-century oak panelling at Rathfarnham Castle, County Dublin – although in the gallery, the panelling is timber sheeting painted to resemble oak. The plaster cornice is cast from a mid 17th-century example in the Museum’s own collection.

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18th Century

mid 17th century cornice

In the 18th-century dining room vignette, the Neo-Classical designs of the cornice, dado rail and skirting are cast from details at Rathfarnham Castle and Leinster House, Dublin; the colour scheme is also based on one discovered in a reception room at Leinster House.

19th Century

In the 19th-century music room vignette, the plaster and joinery are copied from typical domestic details of that period. The wallpaper is a screen-printed copy of a mid 19th-century design found in a house in County Kilkenny; it includes groups of musical instruments within the garlands of foliage. The curtain design, meanwhile, is taken from a French pattern. Green was a popular paint colour throughout the century, while a grey ceiling was often preferred to white.

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