Royal Hibernian Academy

The reason I was in Dublin is that I was attending a meeting at the Royal Hibernian Academy, our sister Academy across the Irish Sea.   It has a parallel history:  founded on 5 August 1823 as a result of thirty artists petitioning government to obtain a charter of incorporation, it is still more tied into government than the RA – it has to seek government approval for changes to its Laws (it still only has 35 members, plus ten Associates) and its exhibition programme is part funded by the Irish Arts Council (ours isn’t).   It lost its original building, Academy House, in Lower Abbey Street as a result of a fire during the 1916 Easter Uprising.   In 1939, it acquired a grand neo-Tudor house in Ely Place, which was demolished, to be replaced by a new building designed by Raymond McGrath, the Australian architect, who was elected as a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, remodelled ‘Finella’ for Mansfield Forbes, worked with Wells Coates and Serge Chermayeff on the interiors of Broadcasting House, before applying after the war to be Senior Architect in the Office of Irish Public Works.   The Royal Hibernian Academy is his most substantial surviving building, with fine upstairs, daylit galleries, only completed in 1989:-


And a very active set of studios on the top floor, used for life drawing:-



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