9 Mar-19 June 2005.
As George Bernard Shaw was to remark England had conquered Ireland, so there was nothing for it but to come over and conquer England. This intriguing exhibition looks at the role of the Irish in London during the reign of Queen Victoria after Great Britain and Ireland were united in a single kingdom in 1801. Such fine political orators and thinkers as Charles Stewart Parnell, the sweeping artistic talents of Irish painters like Daniel Maclise, the incomparable literary legacy left to the English-speaking world and world culture by such legends as Oscar Wilde, Shaw and W. B. Yeats, not to mention such unsung heroes of the theatre and pen as Bram Stoker, helped to change previous misperceptions and prejudice about Ireland. This exhibition draws on several contemporary works, records and mementos from oil paintings and drawings to first print books, magazines and manuscripts, including Oscar Wildes early draft of The Importance of Being Earnest and John Butler Yeats portrait of his eldest son W. B Yeats. Admission is free.
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'Conquering England' - Ireland in Victorian London
Porter Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE. Open daily from 10.00 to 18.00, Thur and Fri until 21.00. Tel. +44-2073122463. The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross and Leicester Square.