Re: New Wallace #2

Shrine Bell with Ostrich, V McDonnell, 2019

Vincent McDonnell

2 February to 1 March 2019

Preview: Sat 2 February 2-4pm

2.30pm Artist Talk

3pm Guided walk through Castle Gardens with curator Anthea McWilliams to view Collection #2, the ISLAND Arts Centre’s complementary Wallace-inspired exhibition.

Vincent McDonnell’s The Hope Bell’ is the second collaboration between Lisburn’s R –Space Gallery and the Wallace Collection in London. McDonnell’s new work is a response to the Collection, which is housed in 25 galleries and comprises French 18th Century painting, furniture and porcelain. Following a week long residency in December, the artist recalled inspiration striking as soon as he entered the Collection galleries:  

“My attention was immediately drawn to the small medieval bell shrine of St Mura…  on this occasion the bell shrine had been given pride of place as part of ‘Richard Wallace – The Collector’ exhibition, Hertford House, London, marking the 200th birthday of Sir Wallace in 1818”.

The purpose of the residency, and latterly the exhibition, is to provide the opportunity for a Northern Irish artist/maker to create work in residency in the extraordinary environment that the Collection offers and ultimately to produce new commissioned signature works for potential future exhibition at R-Space Gallery and also to be offered for sale through the Wallace Collection shop.

This is a chance to celebrate and promote the creativity of a Northern Irish artist and help place Lisburn, and its history, more firmly on the creative and cultural map.

McDonnell’s “The Hope Bell” comes from that instant fascination with the Collection’s bell. It was initially a church bell in Fahan, County Donegal, where it had been an integral part of the lives of the local community. The bell was sold on through the poverty of its keeper, until it came, silenced, the clapper long lost, to the Wallace Collection, bought by Richard Wallace himself.   

The exhibition will see McDonnell exhibit a set of ceramic bells which relate to different elements in the Wallace collection. The title, “The Hope Bell”, refers to Wallace’s personal motto: “Esperance” or “Hope”.

As the artist says: “Wallace often used his wealth to give hope to others, providing water fountains at a time of desperate need in Paris, building schools and repairing churches. He made hope his motto, but more importantly than that, he made it his practice, giving hope to others. Lisburn is testament to this.

“The Hope Bell” does recall Wallace, his motto and his benevolence, but ultimately it does not point to Wallace nor to his works, but it would rather remind us of its original intent – a call to turn aside, to worship and to come to prayer, to find a hope that transcends what this world and this life have to offer.”

Supported by ACNI National Lottery