Until 5 September 2021, Dublin Castle will shine a light on a group of forgotten women – the Vicereines of Ireland.
Though not necessarily of royal blood or descent, these women were the faces of the British monarchy in Ireland and were often in contact with monarchs, such as Queen Victoria, as part of their work. The exhibition also sheds light on the attitudes of royal women towards Ireland, most notably Queen Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, through their correspondence with the Vicereines.
Most of the artworks are on a temporary loan from museums and private collections. They are by masters such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Singer Sargent and Sir John Lavery.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a beautifully illustrated catalogue and volume of scholarly essays. An extract tells the tale of an anti-Irish outburst by the British Prime Minister, Viscount Melbourne, in the presence of the Queen. Written by the Vicereine Maria, Marchioness of Normanby in 1838: “He began abusing the Irish nation yesterday. I told him how ungrateful I thought him… but he went off in his way, you know, ‘a perverse artful false and fickle people – never any good with them, true Celts’!!! It provokes me, his fury… before the Queen… it must prejudice her against a part of her own people that God knows have never received justice from any English sovereign before.”
Plan your visit to Dublin Castle here.