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07 March 2019Eileen Gray, an Irish Rebel
18 April 2019The Guggenheims: a Dynasty of Art Collectors
09 May 2019Dame Zaha Hadid
13 June 2019A Passion for Fashion

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Eileen Gray, an Irish Rebel Nicholas Merchant Thursday 07 March 2019

Late 19th century Southern Ireland. Imagine a young girl of “good family”, living in an 18th century mansion, a tranquil rural existence. This was the life of the subject of this lecture, as the 19th century drew to its close. In 1900 Eileen’s mother took her to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and as the saying goes “she never looked back”. An imaginative girl, Eileen was determined not to see Enniscorthy again. She enrolled in the Slade School of Art, progressed to learn the true art of lacquer in Paris and after the First World War became one of Paris’s most sought-after designers. Not for her the stuffed Victorian furniture of her home but for her “cutting- edge” design. In her studio in the rue Bonaparte she created works which rivalled all the great 20th century furniture makers of Paris. The Art Deco Exhibition of 1925 was the turning point of her life, and the world became aware of her. This is a fascinating story of the girl from Enniscorthy, who became one of the most innovative designers of the 20 th century.