Exhibition | Vicereines of Ireland

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 9, 2021

Opening at the end of this month in the State Apartment Galleries at Dublin Castle:

Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women
Dublin Castle, 31 May – 5 September 2021 (dates subject to Covid-19 restrictions)

Curated by Myles Campbell

Joshua Reyolds, Frances Molesworth, later Marchioness Camden, 1777, oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens).

Fabrics shimmer, flowers blossom, and pearls glint in the painted world of the vicereines of Ireland. But who were the women behind these genteel portraits? Discover their untold story in this landmark exhibition.

As the wives of Ireland’s viceroys, the vicereines were once the fashionable figureheads of social and cultural life at Dublin Castle. Often sympathetic but sometimes apathetic, their attitudes and activities offer fresh insights into the workings of the British administration in Ireland. Campaigns to develop hospitals, relieve poverty, promote Irish fashions, and, in some cases, mitigate what they described as the injustices of British rule in Ireland, are just some of their overlooked initiatives. Featuring works by masters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Singer Sargent, and Sir John Lavery, together with intimate personal objects, this exhibition shines a light on these activities to create new and illuminating portraits of forgotten women.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Myles Campbell, Research and Interpretation Officer, Dublin Castle. Lending institutions include the National Gallery of Ireland, National Trust, Royal Collection Trust, Trinity College Dublin, and Chatsworth House.

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From the Irish Academic Press:

Myles Campbell, ed., Vicereines of Ireland: Portraits of Forgotten Women (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2021), 328 pages, ISBN: 978-1788551335, €35 / $45.

By exploring previously unknown or rarely seen artworks by prominent Irish and British artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Vicereines of Ireland tells the untold story of the women who were the faces of the British administration in Ireland. Featuring essays by leading scholars and based on original sources, including diaries and letters, this beautifully illustrated book brings together text and image to create new and illuminating portraits of forgotten women.

Myles Campbell is now Research and Interpretation Officer (Curator) for the Office of Public Works at Dublin Castle, where he has curated several exhibitions. In 2017 he was co-editor of Making Majesty: The Throne Room at Dublin Castle, A Cultural History (Irish Academic Press), research for which earned him the inaugural George B. Clarke Prize.


Foreword by Mary Heffernan, OPW
Editor’s Introduction

1  ‘The Goverment of the Familie’: The First Duchess of Ormonde’s Understanding of the Role of Vicereine ~ Naomi McAreavey
2  ‘That Caballing Humour, which has Very Ill Effects’: Frances Talbot, Jacobite Duchess of Tyrconnell and Vicereine of Ireland ~ Frances Nolan
3  ‘She Made Charity and Benevolence Fashionable’: Mary, Marchioness of Buckingham, Vicereine of Ireland ~ Janice Morris
4  ‘An Admirable Vice-Queen’: The Duchess of Rutland in Ireland, 1784–87 ~ Rachel Wilson
5  ‘A Subject for History’: Maria, Marchioness of Normanby as Vicereine of Ireland, 1835–39 ~ Myles Campbell
6  Lacing Together the Union: How Theresa, Marchioness of Londonderry’s Unionist Endeavours were at the Heart of her Viceregal Tenure in Ireland, 1886–89 ~ Neil Watt
7  ‘One of the Sincerest Democrats of her Caste’: Lady Ishbel Aberdeen’s Crusade against Tuberculosis in Ireland ~ Éimear O’Connor

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