The Doorway Gallery Christmas Show entitled “Stocking Fillers” starts on December 7 – 24 and is one I always look forward to. It’s unique in that all of the canvases are the same small size and all are priced under €500. This provides the chance to invest in artists such as Lucy Doyle, Roisin O’Farrell, Alison Dickson and Cormac O’Leary among others. It’s one way to gift something special or begin a collection; www.thedoorwaygallery.com
The Gallery Shop at National Gallery Ireland stocks a luxurious range of seasonal gift ideas, from cashmere scarves to biscuits, framed prints, and cosmetic bags. Annual favourites include the Gallery 2020 Calendar, this year illustrated with botanical imagery, €12, and the 2020 Diary, €20, with its light-filled cover image, The Sunshade by William John Leech. Or give the gift of Gallery membership this Christmas. Visit the Friends’ Desk in the Millennium Wing, sign up online or by phone. There are a range of membership options including individual, €80, and dual membership, €120. nationalgallery.ie
For abstract art lovers, this Blot cushion nestled between scatter cushions makes an impact. It also gives an insight into the chaotic workings of Tom Dixon’s mind.
Go on the Clontarf Castle art trail and discover a collection which is brimming with curiosities. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a Saturday afternoon at the 12th-century Castle discovering some 93 canvases spread over the four floors of the hotel bought from key galleries representing established and up and coming artists from Ireland and all over the world, such as Saatchi Art, Artfinder and London Art. At check in you will receive the art trail brochure – taking you through the background information on the collection. Afterwards you can take your time and uncover the pieces. The art trail finishes with a Fusion Tea (€42 per person) where contemporary meets traditional with sweet and savoury delights. www.clontarfcastle.ie
A sumptuously illustrated follow-up to Strangest Genius, this new book, Dark Beauty, coincides with the 130th anniversary of Harry Clarke’s birth. Clarke’s brilliance as a graphic artist is clearly visible in the book illustrations which he applied to his stained glass masterpieces. The book features 500 images and windows in Ireland, England, America and Australia which inspires readers to visit Clarke’s work from the armchair. Dark Beauty, Hidden Detail in Harry Clarke’s Stained Glass, Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen, Merrion Press: www.merrionpress.ie
Belinda Northcote, Jim Skully, Jando, Vera Gaffney, Simone Walsh, Rebeka Kahn, Fab Cow, Black Hen and Anna Nielsen are some of the many Irish artists to be found at Kilkenny Shop Nassau Street, which is encouraging residents to shop local this festive season. Jando, Fab Cow and Jim Skully perfectly capture some of Ireland’s most-loved landmarks and landscapes in a bold and impactful way. Vera Gaffney and Simone Walsh will add a splash of colour to any home, while Rebecca Khan and Black Hen’s intricate pieces will bring some of Ireland’s landscapes indoors; www.kilkennyshop.com
Curl up by the fire with this thriller spanning four centuries by Alex Connor. Those who know Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi will be intrigued. Regarded as a freak of nature, her life was a scandal and her art was considered inferior to that of the male painters of Italy. In a patriarchal and unforgiving society, she was mocked as an oddity, a woman with a shameful past, forced to compete with men for commissions and patrons. Today her genius is recognised worldwide. Artemisia, Alex Connor, Cranthorpe Millner Publishers
Gifted, the Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, which takes place at the RDS from December 4-8, traditionally heralds the start of the Christmas season. It celebrates the best in contemporary Irish design (and artisan food), and offers a wide selection of contemporary ceramics, art, photography and accessories. There is ten per cent off everything at Gifted on the opening day, Wednesday, December 4. www.giftedfair.ie
Looking for something different for the friend or family member that has absolutely everything? An Post’s Limited Edition Collectible Stamps, include Thin Lizzy 50th Anniversary. Marking 50 years of one of Ireland’s greatest rock bands, An Post recently released two stamps featuring Thin Lizzy’s Black Rose album cover and a portrait of Phil Lynott by renowned Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick; www.anpost.com.