INAUGURAL NORA NILAND LECTURE
The Model, Sligo
To honour Nora’s work in creating a prestigious art collection for Sligo
WB & Jack – who were they….
Presented by Dr Adrian Paterson, NUIG.
Followed by wine and bites.
Free event sponsored by NUIG
About Nora Niland
Inaugural Nora Niland Lecture
For the first time Nora Niland will be publicly honoured at a special event which will take place during the Yeats Day celebrations this year. Born in 1913 in the townland of Ballinastak near Tuam, Co Galway, Nora was a graduate of English and Irish literature from NUIG.
She moved to Sligo in 1945 where she took up the position of Sligo County Librarian. It was then that she began to draw greater attention to the links between Sligo and the influential Yeats family. In 1959 Nora borrowed five paintings by Jack Butler Yeats to exhibit for the first Yeats Summer School. During the exhibition, Niland began to feel that the paintings should remain in Sligo and so she set about raising the £3,000 needed to purchase them in the hope of establishing a public art collection for the county.
Two years later her determination paid off, and The Niland Collection was born.
Through her efforts Sligo Corporation acquired significant holdings of material relating to the Yeats family and it is now one of Ireland’s most substantial public art collections. The Jack B. Yeats paintings were then housed, together with other Yeats family material and artworks, in a special room in Sligo County Library.
Paintings by the Yeats family feature prominently in the Niland collection with almost fifty works by Jack B. Yeats, nineteen portraits by his father John Butler Yeats, as well as works by Jack’s wife Mary Cottenham Yeats, and his sister Elizabeth Yeats. The collection has an emphasis on the northwest of Ireland and features many artists who are linked to the area including Patrick Collins, Sean McSweeney, Patrick Hall and Nick Miller.
It also features pieces of work by Norah McGuinness, Mary Swanzy, Sean Keating, Gerard Dillon, Paul Henry and Louis le Brocquy.
In 2002 a further 30 works of Irish art were generously lent on a long-term basis by the collector Jobst Graeve.
The Niland Collection has now grown to over 300 works and is cared for by, and displayed at, The Model Niland Gallery on the Mall in Sligo.
Nora Niland never married and when she retired she returned to live in her native Ballinastack. She died in 1988 and sadly failed to get to see her dreams of a gallery to house her pictures come to fruition.
To celebrate her contribution in creating this prestigious art collection for Sligo, The Inaugural Nora Niland Lecture in association with NUIG, will take place on Friday, June 10th at 7.30pm in the Model Niland Gallery. It will be presented by Dr Adrian Paterson, a lecturer in English at NUIG and a member of the Yeats2015 committee.
He will be joined by renowned Jack Yeats scholar Dr Hilary Pyle at a special Yeats Salon from 9.30pm.