Do you have fine art at heart?


A new decorative and fine arts society is seeking volunteers to assist in furthering an interest in Ireland’s cultural heritage

THE STATE’S NEWEST cultural organisation is seeking members and volunteers. The Irish Decorative and Fine Arts Society (IDFAS) has been established “to bring together people with an interest in conservation and education” and “to act as a bridge between academia and those with an interest in all aspects of the historical context of decorative and fine arts in Ireland”.

The society aims to be “an all-inclusive grassroots movement” with branches in Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny and other cities and towns. Activities will include a programme of monthly lectures and conservation projects that will offer hands-on volunteers the chance to participate in a range of heritage projects led by professional conservators.

Such projects include the “cataloguing and photographing of collections, upgrading of storage, cleaning and minor conservation of books, and the conservation cleaning of decorative art collections”. Volunteers are promised training by a conservator and would be expected to contribute two hours one day a week of their time in return for a chance to gain specialised knowledge and experience.

The society’s committee includes the Earl and Countess of Rosse, who are joint presidents; vice presidents: the Very Reverend Dermot Dunne, Dean of Dublin and Dean of Glendalough, Prof Alan Fletcher, UCD; auctioneer, Philip Sheppard; antiquarian Donal Robinson-Ryan and Erica Devine, a conservation specialist. The secretary of IDFAS, Alison Fergusson, a returned Irish expatriate who worked in a Brussels art gallery, said membership costs €65, or €100 for a couple, and “will cover free entry to the monthly lectures which will be held in Dublin and, occasionally, at other venues around the country”.

The society will hold its inaugural lecture on September 27th at 6:30pm at the Hibernian Club, 9 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The speaker is Dr Toby Barnard, a senior fellow at Hertford College, part of the University of Oxford, and the topic: “Contexts and characteristics of Irish decorative and fine arts in the long 18th century”.

The society describes Dr Barnard as an expert on the material culture of Stuart and Hanoverian Ireland and “substantially responsible for the flowering of Irish historical research at Oxford” and that the lecture, his last before he retires, would mark “the end of a remarkable teaching and research career that has contributed enormously to understanding Ireland’s past”.

Access to the lecture is for members and invited guests only, and tickets must be booked in advance.

For further information and details about how to join, see idfas.comor write to the Irish Decorative and Fine Arts Society, 120 Pembroke Rd, Dublin 4