Crawford Art Gallery


The Crawford Art Gallery (Irish: Áiléar Crawford) is a public art gallery and museum in the city of Cork, Ireland. Known informally as the Crawford, it was designated a 'National Cultural Institution' in 2006. It is "dedicated to the visual arts, both historic and contemporary", and welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year.


The Crawford is based in the centre of Cork in what used to be the Cork Customs House, built in 1724. The Customs House became home to the Royal Cork Institution (RCI) in the 1830s, and the RCI was involved in opening the Cork School of Design on the site in 1850. In the early 1880s, the Cork School of Design was extended with funds and patronage from members of the Crawford family, who were local landowners and brewers. For this reason the school was re-named as the Crawford School of Art in 1885. In 1979, the art school transferred to another site, and the Crawford building used primarily as a gallery and museum. The museum buildings were substantially extended in 2000.


Among the earliest acquisitions in the gallery's collection are casts of classical Greek and Roman statues by Antonio Canova. These were brought to Cork from the Vatican in 1818. The Royal Cork Institution acquired these works from the Society of Fine Arts in Cork, who had been given the casts by the Prince Regent (later George IV of the United Kingdom). He in turn had received them from Pope Pius VII, who had commissioned Antonio Canova to make a set of plasters from statues in the Vatican.

Given the gallery's association with the Cork School of Art (later known as the Crawford College of Art and Design), some items in the museum collection are from staff and students of the school. These include works by James Brenan (who was headmaster of the school from 1860 to 1889) and students such as Henry Jones Thaddeus and William Gerard Barry.

Other items in the collection include works by sculptors such as John Hogan and Eilis O'Connell, stained-glass artists like Harry Clarke and Evie Hone, painters including William Orpen (a student of James Brenan), Jack B. Yeats, and Nano Reid, as well as photographer Bob Carlos Clarke.

The gallery also hosts education and outreach programmes, and manages temporary and travelling exhibitions.






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