In Gilt and In Glory


One of a pair of 18th century rococo gilt pier glasses that hang in the first-floor back drawing room of 5 Clare Street, Dublin, now used for board meetings by the National Gallery of Ireland. The two have belonged to the NGI since the early 1900s after being included in the Milltown Gift, that is the bequest made to the institution by Geraldine, Countess of Milltown following the death of her husband the seventh Earl. Previously the pier glasses had been part of the decoration of the saloon at Russborough, County Wicklow for which it is believed they were commissioned some time around 1750. We do not know who was responsible for carving them, but the craftsmanship is certainly superb. When the Countess of Kildare visited in 1759, she reported to her husband that ‘the house is really fine and the furniture magnificent.’ Since much of that furniture was of similar calibre, her praise was more than justified.


7 comments on “In Gilt and In Glory

  1. They must find a decent place to display such a fine piece. It looks very squashed in that setting – very inappropriate.

    • Niall O'Mahony says:

      Yes, it doesn’t look very fitting in that location.

      Plus, the OCD side of me would LOVE to move the table just 6 inches to the left…

      • Thanks to all of you for your comments. Obviously in their present location the pier glasses are not hung to best advantage, not least because the space is so tight (and the ceiling too low). I would also have preferred to move the table so that it is centred beneath the glass – but it wasn’t my place to re-arranged the furniture…

  2. John Lough says:

    As Russborough is open to the public and in trust for the Nation then, I’m sure the museum could see to the return to the house for which they were commissioned, in addition to other pieces which are scattered around Govt. buildings.
    I agree with the above comment that as pier glasses they are not hung appropriately. They belong in the ‘piers’ between windows.

  3. Well done. but I agree, location is not perfect 🙁

  4. columnist says:

    I’ve only just come to read this post and was about to add exactly what others have – the fact that the pier table is maddeningly off centre. Ah well, that horse has been well and truly flogged.

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