Down County Museum’s fine art collection currently comprises (but growing all the time!) 307 works, of which 61 are oils. All relate to County Down in some way, whether topographical, portraits, works by local artists and, in one case, part of a collection made by a local resident.
The collection began in a small way, when the museum was established in 1981. Many works were given to the museum by local people; others were purchased from amateur as well as professional artists, emphasising the museum’s role as a community museum.
As the museum developed, and other sources of funding became available, the museum was able to acquire pieces of national and international significance, balancing historic with contemporary works. The museum’s recently published catalogue of fine art demonstrates the unique nature of the collection, with major artists such as Thomas James Carr, Nevill Johnson, Sir John Lavery, Anne Madden, Colin Middleton and Daniel O’Neill represented. Of particular importance are three portraits, attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller.
The Museum is based in the late 18th-century buildings of the old county gaol. We collect and display objects from prehistoric flint to contemporary art, and from agricultural machinery to computers. A catalogue is available at the museum, 'Art of Down' by Eileen Black and M. Lesley Simpson. You can find out more via the website.
The Mall, Downpatrick, County Down BT30 6AH Northern Ireland
028 4461 5218
Before making a visit, check opening hours with the venue