Knowing full well that Ireland is a land of lace and other textile wonders it is no surprise to find the National Museum of Ireland’s decorative arts collection houses astounding treasures across all of the decorative arts. I will filter these through in the coming weeks, but to hit the ground [floor] running I have to begin with some of the china in the collection. There is a quality of wild, abandoned, unabashed florality about these hand painted pieces from the early 1800s.
My penchant for fine bone china patterning was instilled early in life by various family collections and an English grandmother whose painting peers were exploring detailed floral decoration on ceramics in their own work. The tradition of floral painting on ceramics fascinated me in it’s then 70s setting amongst vibrant brown and orange mod patterns applied with decals and machinery. Walking through church fetes with tables displaying various highly detailed rose and chrysanthemum florals as one-off pieces showed a very gentle and unique product that was not a product. The utility of those objects seemed to be totally surpassed as they become works of art without the need to work.
And on leaving the gallery, walking out of the building through it’s archways and quadrangle the view of the Guinness factory brings Dublin back into frame.