IT TOOK A CENTURY, Women Artists and the RHA, National Gallery of Ireland. 01/07/2023 – 22/10/2023

May 08 2023








Barbara Warren RHA, Hands. Silver Gelatin Print, 37cm x 37 cm. Printed, Paris. Guillaume Geneste


It took a century to elect the first woman artist.
It took another century to elect the first woman President.
It took a century to achieve equitable representation in the membership.

This National Gallery of Ireland/Royal Hibernian Academy collaboration will showcase women’s membership of the Royal Hibernian Academy from the election in 1923 of the first woman member, Sarah Purser, to the first woman President, Abigail O’Brien, in 2018. As part of the RHA Bicentennial celebrations, the exhibition will combine an historic survey of the past 100 years together with a presentation of work by current woman members of the Academy.

While half of the artists represented in the exhibition are living, the other half span the decades from the 1920s. The exhibition will comprise works in a variety of media, and will involve an unprecedented use of Room 21, in which Irish art from the late 17th to early 19th century is usually displayed.

The constituent works will be drawn almost exclusively from the collections of the National Gallery of Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy. The only exceptions to this are the small number of artists not represented in either collection. Examples of the work of this small group of artists will be on loan from other public collections in Ireland.

Curators: Dr Brendan Rooney and Dara McElligott (National Gallery of Ireland); Patrick T. Murphy and Kate McBride (RHA).