The Royal Hibernian Academy, more than any other cultural institution in Ireland, experienced the magnitude of the 1916 Rising. Academy House, the RHA’s original purpose-built building, bequeathed and designed by its second President, Francis Johnson (1760-1829) in 1825 was situated on Lower Abbey Street. On Thursday the 27th of April 1916, Academy House, most of its contents and the entire Annual Exhibition of that year were destroyed by fire during the Easter Rising.
Although the Academy was without an exhibition hall for the following sixty-nine years, the tradition of the RHA Annual Exhibition acted as a catalyst and stimulus amongst the RHA Members to overcome the devastating loss of their original building and to re-establish the historic place of the Academy in the twentieth century. This culminated in establishing what the RHA is today in 2016: the leading artist led, thirty-two county, cultural institution which promotes the appreciation and understanding of both traditional and innovative approaches to the visual arts.
This presentation will observe the events that took place at Academy House in 1916 and the subsequent history of the Annual Exhibition and RHA premises using items from the RHA Archives and Permanent Collection. It features historical records, publications, photographs, correspondence and architectural plans that are an integral part of the history of the Academy.