The Nora Niland legacy

Over the past number of weeks our Marketing Assistant Denise Rushe has been under-taking some research into Nora Niland, the woman behind The Niland Collection which is housed at The Model. We’ll try to keep you updated via our blog on the information Denise is finding. Below she writes about what she has been up to so far;

Just over seven months ago I returned to live in Sligo, when I began working with The Model as Marketing Assistant. As I write this I am trying to remember at that time what knowledge I had on The Niland Collection, or the great lady behind it. I had been quite a regular but young visitor to The Model, and I guess had been more consumed with the current show, than the story behind the great collection.

Now working at The Model, I am surrounded by books and research on The Collection and the woman who inspired it. The past few months have been extremely busy in the Model offices as we prepare to return to our new building. Not only is there construction work being completed, but our new programme is being drawn together for 2010. I can’t wait for our return to the new building though I have never worked there, I visited it plenty. I’m eager to see how the Collection is operated, and look forward to the major Yeats retrospective that will open next Summer in the new gallery space.

In the earlier years of The Model, Curator of Collection and Projects Emer McGarry undertook some research into the story of The Niland Collection which we currently use on our website to describe The Niland Collection. In the past couple of years, more research has been taken to discover the story behind Nora Niland’s motivation and determination to build a collection of contemporary art work for Sligo.

Most recently, I have begun gathering information on Nora herself. This has involved meeting with people who may have worked with her or made her acquaintance through work or meetings. A key objective of my research is to find out why she was so motivated to draw together the Yeats paintings in the first instance, and to gain a better understanding of why she thought they were so important for Sligo to have. To date I have interviewed Stella Mews of the Yeats Society, received photographs from Cormac O’Malley in New York, and received old newspaper articles from earlier editions of the Sligo Champion. I’ve also gathered an list of contacts, most of whom I hope to contact over the next few months.

Through our blog I hope to keep our readers, and those with an interest in the story of Nora and the Niland collection informed on any new information and stories that I come across. I’d love to hear from you if you have any information or connections I should follow up with. You can comment below or email me or call me on 071-914 1405 o write to me at The Model, Unit 6, Cleveragh Retail Park, Sligo.