Fiona Ahern is a student on the MA Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
Ahern's talk examines Irene Gilbert's co-operation with the Department of Industry and Commerce and other fashion designers to bring international buyers to Ireland and increase export sales.
Elaine Hewitt is a student on the MA Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
Hewitt’s research highlights the pivotal role that skilled Irish dressmakers played in the late-nineteenth century through an examination of the use of beetle wings to decorate garments. One such piece, made by Mrs Sims of Dawson Street Dublin, and now in the NMI collections, is the focus of this paper. Mary Sims was a court dressmaker by Royal appointment, who established herself from 1863 as the most prominent dressmaker in Dublin.
Jessica Cunningham, PhD Candidate and Hume Scholarship Recipient in the History Department at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Maynooth.
With reference to the permanent Irish Silver exhibition at Collins Barracks his paper highlights the growing sophistication of the silver craft and trade in post-Restoration Dublin, a subject that has hitherto received little attention. Cunningham uses John Cuthbert (fl. 1670-1705) as a case study of a Dublin goldsmith’s workshop in which silver of this type was produced.
Breda Scott, PhD candidate in the History Department at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Maynooth.
This paper considers a horsehair brooch c.1850, held in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. Using the brooch as a focal point Scott will consider the contexts in which horsehair jewellery was made, worn, retailed and valued in nineteenth-century Ireland. Focusing on the material used to fabricate the contemporary meanings of this artefact will be considered.
Dr Helen McAllister, Head of Fashion and Textiles Department at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
McAllister’s applied artist’s practice and PhD research outcomes on embroidered shoe-derived forms are the connection to shoes in the museum. These are the starting point for this paper exploring the shoe as an artefact, a crafted object and as something to be archived and collected.
Frances McDonald, Independent Arts Advisor and Studio Manager at Joseph Walsh Studio 2006-2010, McDonald is currently a student on the MA in Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art & Design
Through advertising material produced by the Kilkenny Woodworkers, in particular the 1912 Catalogue of Household Furnishings, as well as object analysis, including a Bookcase in the National Museum of Ireland Collection, McDonald’s research proposes to investigate the approach taken to design and marketing by The Kilkenny Woodworkers in the context of the social and political environment of the time.
Emma O'Toole, PhD Candidate and a part-time lecturer in the Visual Culture Department at NCAD.
Focusing on 18th and early 19th century infant material culture held in the National Museum’s collection, this paper addresses the variety of objects, spaces and related ideologies which surrounded early childhood in Ireland during this period.
Using everyday objects and clothing, together with family papers and ephemera, this research illustrates the changes that occurred in the organisation of domestic life on the arrival of children. In particular, the paper will focus on the development of dedicated spaces, such as nurseries.
Dr Dominique Bouchard, Curator of Education and Outreach at the Hunt Museum.
Although unremarkable at first glance, a red-figure bell krater (NMI Inventory no. 1921.88) from the first half of the fifth century BC has passed into the Nation’s collections through a rather remarkable route.
In this paper, Bouchard explores the journey of this krater through different collections shaped by different philosophies of collecting and taste. The story of this artistically modest object points to the larger history of the rediscovery of classical painted vases and the evolution of modern archaeological collections and approaches to understanding classical art.
Dr Alison FitzGerald lectures in the Department of History at NUI Maynooth in place of co-director.
This paper examines the Fleetwood Cabinet, said to have been the gift of Oliver Cromwell to his daughter Bridget when she married Charles Fleetwood in 1652. The paper presents new evidence on the production and consumption of this artefact and argues that the association with Cromwell has almost entirely obscured the other dimensions to its history. Who for example was involved in making or selling it? How were they used? And how robust is the provenance, which links the cabinet to Cromwell in the first place?
Alex Ward, Curator of Dress and Textiles, NMI.
This paper will look at an evening dress that was on display in the recent exhibition, Neillí Mulcahy, Irish Haute Couture of the 50s and 60s. The dress was designed and made by Mulcahy for her Aunt Phyllis, Mrs. Sean T. O’Kelly, who wore it to a State Dinner in the White House on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day 1959. The dress, made of antique Irish crochet, not only serves as a stepping stone into the story of the first official visit by an Irish Head of State to the United States, but it also highlights the lace industry for which Ireland was once famous.
Dr. Audrey Whitty, Curator of Ceramics, Glass & Asian collections, NMI.
One of the most remarkable donors to the National Museum of Ireland was the San Francisco-based philanthropist, Albert Bender (1866-1941) who presented 260 objects of Asian art to the institution throughout the 1930s.
His correspondence with the then director of the National Museum of Ireland and Nazi, Adolf Mahr will be addressed. It is in these letters where the greatest insights into how he acquired his Asian collection are found. His friendships with such Irish writers as W.B. Yeats, Oliver St. John Gogarty, George Russell and Walter Starkie will also be referenced.
Nigel Cheney, MA, Lecturer in Embroidered Textiles, NCAD.
This paper explores the role of artefacts, material culture, and the study of collections by design students. It discusses to what extent museum collections can stimulate and excite contemporary design students. Outcomes highlighted in the paper may pose challenges to the museum, suggesting possibilities for providing a different experience for design students.