Shaw and the Gallery: A Priceless Education
Opening on 13 July 2020 at the National Gallery of Ireland, Shaw and the Gallery: A Priceless Education is a special display exploring the relationship between George Bernard Shaw and the Gallery.
Shaw, celebrated playwright and winner in 1925 of the Nobel Prize in Literature, spent many hours as a child wandering the rooms of the Gallery, calling it a place to which he owed “much of the only real education I ever got as a boy in Eire.”
Marking 70 years since Shaw’s death, the display of selected works from the Gallery’s archives – from original postcards and letters to photos and sculpture – invites visitors to discover the story of one of the country’s most influential writers and the place he called the “cherished asylum of my boyhood”.
Just before Shaw’s 94th birthday, he completed his last will, leaving one third of his posthumous royalties to the Gallery. These royalties increased substantially with the production of My Fair Lady, a musical based on Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion, which was a success on Broadway in 1956 and became a popular film in 1964. The Gallery received its first Shaw bequest royalties in 1957 (£10,000) and by the end of 1959, over €240,000 had been received; the first purchases were made in 1959. The bequest ends in 2020.