News & Media Centre


Reconstructed Rooms: Four Centuries of Furnishings

National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History

Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will officially open a new exhibition titled Reconstructed Rooms : Four Centuries of Furnishings on Thursday, 10th November at 5.00 p.m. at the National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks, Dublin 7.

This new exhibition displays some of the National Museum of Ireland's furniture collection in a series of room settings. There is a 17th century bedroom with a rare Flemish stand-bed, oak chests and panelling, a refined Georgian dining room and the exuberant style of a 19th century music room. The music room showcases an eccentric Irish invention the idiophone or musical glasses.

The 20th century gallery looks at Irish modernism, displaying various design movements from 1900 to the present. On display are various Arts and Crafts pieces of furniture coming from the Kilkenny woodworker’s colony, Art Nouveau chairs purchased at the Paris exhibition of 1900, an Irish Art Deco bedroom, and the thoroughly modernist style of a 1950s living room. It also displays the work of some of Ireland’s best contemporary furniture designers; Joseph Walsh, Nest Furniture Design, John Lee, and Zelouf and Bell. A block screen inspired by Eileen Gray and created by Sasha Sykes highlights Sykes unique style encapsulating layers of flowers, ferns, ivy, beetles, and butterflies in acrylic.

On display for the first time is some of the international furniture collection which explores the theme of ancient chests, coffers and boxes. Notably on display is a Renaissance bridal chest, a 15th century Spanish pilgrimage chest and a rare Persian coffer, covered in mother of pearl. Some of the work of Ireland's leading wood turners is also on display.

Each of the rooms are visually enhanced by objects such as textiles, silverware, glass and ceramics from other collections. This exhibition traces the development of furniture in Ireland from 1600 through to the present day and has accompanying interactive gallery which invites visitors to touch, examine, explore and learn about chair design over the past two hundred years.

Commenting on the exhibition, Minister Deenihan commended the National Museum on the holistic approach taken in this exhibition. “The exhibition traces the development of furniture in Ireland from 1600 through to the present day. It is curated in such a way that makes it easy for visitors to Collins Barracks to relate to the variety of the eras represented. Indeed, the range of material on exhibition is inspiring and provides a wonderful window to the past for all of us today to look back through” said Minister Deenihan.

The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr Pat Wallace also welcomed the inclusive approach of “Reconstructed Rooms” which he praised for its “non use of electronic gimmickry and the jimcrackery of many modern exhibitions which distract from enjoyment of the real evidence”.

This new exhibition opens to the public on Thursday, 11th November 2011


Maureen Gaule, Marketing Executive, Marketing Department

T: 01 648 6429 | M: 087 9031690| E:

Ann Daly, Head of Marketing, Marketing Department

T: 01 648 6457 | M: 087 2368067 | E:

Notes to the Editor:

Images available on request

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