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Gold Collection at the National Museum of Ireland

National Museum of Ireland building Kildare St

I’ve been sorting through my photos from my recent trip to the National Museum of Ireland. I went there to research patterns for my new collection. I’ve been working on the new pieces for the past few months but I needed to refine some of my ideas and there’s nothing like being surrounded by amazing Irish works of art to help with the creative process!

When you visit the museum you enter through a large round room where the information desk and gift shop is situated. If you can, take a moment to look up at the amazing ceiling.

National Museum of Ireland Entrance Hall Ceiling

Rather than show lots of photos from the museum today (I took hundreds!) I’ve decided to show you a some of the Ór collection. Ór (pronounced oar) is the Irish word for gold. The museum are happy for you to take photographs as long as you do not use a flash or recording equipment. This is to protect the exhibits on display.

Gold collar collection National Museum Ireland

This exhibition showcases some of the museums collection of Bronze Age gold objects. This is one of the greatest museum collections in Europe from this period. With such a large collection of jewellery and artefacts you get a very clear sense of the style of this time and the development of technique and skills.

Gold Lunulae on display National Museum of Ireland

As you explore each showcase you get a sense of how this style develops and how the craftsmen of the time refined and improved their making skills. The aspect that always strikes me when I study this collection is the impressive forms they managed to create with very small quantities of gold. The torcs and collars are made from very thin sheets of gold which has been hammered and formed to give this illusion of immense grandeur.

Gold collar National Museum of Ireland

The other feature which stands out in each piece is the attention to detail, the painstaking way in which they applied decoration in even the tiniest area. Considering these craftsmen were working 4,000 years ago they had an amazing ability to use the tools they had to create extremely detailed decoration.

Gleninsheen Gold Collar on display national Museum of Ireland

Gleninsheen gold collar decorated finial detail

Gold Collar Finial Detail

Gold Collar Detail

These photos only capture a small fraction of the artefacts on display in the Ór exhibition. As I work on the new collection I’ll be posting lots more photos which have inspired the new pieces.

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