Collections & Locations
The Gallery's Art Library holds the country’s most extensive bibliographic collections relating to the national and international development of the visual arts. The collection contains over 100,000 volumes relating to art, dating from the 15th century to the present day. Monographs, catalogue raisonnés, exhibition catalogues and collection catalogues from museums and galleries throughout the world are available for staff to research. The library also holds the most comprehensive collection of art auction and sales catalogues in Ireland, from 1758 onwards. Over 200 journal titles are represented in the collection and recently received journals are available for consultation in the library reading room. Subjects include art, architecture, contemporary practice and critical writing, visual arts practice, curatorial practices, conservation, among many other themes.
The Art Library Reading Room spans across the basement of no. 88 to 89. It can be accessed by staff through the stairs in no. 88 or the public entrance (at the bottom of the spiral staircase in the Beit Wing).
Staff of the National Gallery are given additional access to the library as they can borrow a large selection of the publications for further research as well as consult them in the reading room. Once you have registered to borrow, simply contact to request a book and our staff will let you know when it's ready for you. NGI staff can also access a selection of the Art Library’s online resources on their work computers.
The ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art (CSIA) houses the Gallery’s Irish art library and archive. The collection reflects the institution’s significant and ongoing role in preserving Ireland’s visual cultural heritage through the acquisition and accumulation of associated documentation. Comprising a variety of primary and secondary material relating to over 2,500 individual artists and more than 1,000 arts organisations, the collection documents and represents aspects of the life and work of many of the people and organisations that have contributed to the development of Irish art and its history.
The CSIA Reading Room is located on the 2nd floor of the Gallery and can be accessed by lifts in the Millennium wing (see below). While the Art Library is open from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday, the CSIA is accessed by appointments so it’s always good to contact the Art Library desk (firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 3546) first before picking up books or using it as a research space.
The Gallery archive contains the official records of the institution. It reflects the history of the Gallery from the 1850's to the present day. This is a valuable source for those interested in the development of the Gallery and its involvement in Irish cultural affairs since its foundation. The collection includes detailed archives relating to the establishment of the Gallery and the work of the Irish Institution; a complete set of minute books recording meetings of the Board since 1855; records documenting the development of the Gallery's collection including registers of paintings, prints, sculpture etc. The archive also contains papers relating to the Directors and staff of the Gallery such as Hugh Lane, Thomas McGreevy, Brinsley MacNamara and James Stephens. Information on the development of the Gallery building and architectural plans also form part of the archive.
The Institutional Archive is stored in the Library and Archives primary store. Once requested, material from the Institutional Archive are consulted Art Library Reading Room.
The Yeats archive consists of collections that relate to Jack B. Yeats and members of his extended family and include highlights such as the artist's sketchbooks which cover over fifty years of his career, books from Yeats’s own library, a collection of journals, theatre programmes, original manuscripts, photographs, postcards and letters, as well as general memorabilia such as the artist’s easel and smock. This collection also includes material relating to Mary Cottenham Yeats, W.B. Yeats, John Butler Yeats, his sisters Susan Mary ('Lily') and Elizabeth ('Lolly'), niece Anne Yeats and cousin Ruth Pollexfen. The Cuala and Dun Emer Presses are also well represented.
The Yeats Archive is stored behind the Prints & Drawings research room on the 2nd Floor. Material from the Yeats Archive can be consulted in one of the Library & Archive research areas (typically the CSIA Reading Room or the Art Library Reading Room). While the Art Library is open from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday, the CSIA is accessed by appointment so it’s always good to contact the Art Library desk first to check which location the material will be brought to.
Sir Denis Mahon Library and Archives
Sir Denis Mahon Library and Archive was gifted to the Gallery in 2010. This extraordinary collection consisting of thousands of publications, documents and photographs represents decades of scholarship and forms a body of unique material. The library covers western European art from classical times onwards and is strong on Italian, British, Dutch, French and Spanish Art. The archive documents and records the collector’s life including two world wars. This passion for recording and storing a life-time of memories came from his parents whose papers also form part of this fascinating collection.
The Sir Denis Mahon Reading Room is beautifully decorated the collector’s antique furniture and has original Georgian features—great for corporate events as well as research!
The Sir Denis Mahon Reading Room is located on the 1st Floor of no. 90. While much of the Sir Denis Mahon library collection is available, the Sir Denis Mahon archive is currently being processed.