Ulster Bank gifts 78 art works to National Gallery of Ireland

The majority of the works are by Irish artists, some of whom are significant figures in Irish art

The National Gallery of Ireland has acquired 78 works from the Ulster Bank art collection ahead of the bank exiting the Irish market.

The works gifted to the gallery consist of 40 paintings, 30 prints, six other works on paper and two sculptures. The period covered by the works extends from the 1950s to the early 2000s.

The majority of the works are by Irish artists, some of whom are significant figures in Irish art that up until now have not been represented in the collection at the National Gallery of Ireland.

Among these are Cecily Brennan, Eithne Carr, Elizabeth Cope, Cora Cummins, Andrew Folan, Anita Groener, Cecil King, Francis Tansey and Samuel Walsh.


Among the acquired work is the 1982 Haystacks by Cecily Brennan, which was shown in the artist’s solo exhibition at the Project Arts Centre in 1982.

Dr Caroline Campbell, director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said they were “pleased” to accept the gift. “This gift represents almost two years of work by both our teams to identify and acquire a range of works which enhance the gallery’s collection. We extend our thanks to everyone at Ulster Bank and NatWest Group for their generosity.”

Jane Howard, chief executive of Ulster Bank, said they were very pleased to give the works to “coincide with the closing of branches”.

“The collection of 78 works has been amassed over decades and proudly displayed for colleagues and customers to enjoy across the bank’s branch and office network for many years,” she said. “When we announced our withdrawal from the Irish market we committed to leaving in a responsible and sustainable way. This is part of that commitment. We are delighted that these pieces will be enjoyed by future generations for years to come at the National Gallery of Ireland.”

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times