City Hall Online Lecture Series: Engaging with the Historic Public Sculpture in Dublin

A series of six lectures on public sculpture in Dublin will be streamed online. There will be one lecture a month, starting in January 2021. The lectures, which were filmed in the City Hall, explore public sculpture in Dublin from different viewpoints, as indicated in the lecture titles below. The lecturer, Paula Murphy, is a specialist in the history and theory of sculpture and has published widely on Irish sculpture. A UCD emeritus professor, she is a member of the Steering Group of Sculpture Dublin. A Q/A with Professor Murphy will take place after each lecture. This series of lectures will focus on the historic work in the city. Contemporary sculptural practice in Dublin will be explored with The Hugh Lane and The LAB Gallery.

1. The Story

This lecture will recount the history of the city’s public sculpture since the first monuments were erected in the eighteenth century.

2. The Practice

This lecture examines the education of sculptors in Dublin, the making of sculpture, the materials used and the location of public sculptural work in the city.

3. The Commission

This lecture discusses the commissioning process – how a monument gets to be located in the city. The O’Connell Monument is used as a case study.

4. The Sculptors

This lecture introduces some of the major sculptors who worked in Dublin in the nineteenth century and their practice. The contrast between the career of a local sculptor (Thomas Farrell) and an absentee (John Henry Foley) will be explored.

5. The Women

This lecture examines the role of women in public sculpture in Dublin, a practice that was largely male-dominated until the mid-twentieth century. The career of sculptor Gabriel Hayes will be used as a case study.

6. The Controversy

This lecture identifies the different ways in which public sculpture in Dublin has engendered controversy. Particular emphasis is given to the fate of the Imperial monuments that were erected in the city – most of which were destroyed and/or removed.

First session: The story  – Friday 29 January, 1-2pm

The lecture will be streamed online and followed by a Q/A on Zoom with Professor Murphy.