Miniature Masterpieces Opens

Miniature Masterpieces Opens

The new exhibition Miniature Masterpieces, 100 Years of Irish Stamps opens on Saturday 11 November 2023 (soft opening).

The National Print Museum will celebrate 100 years of postage stamps in Ireland with a special exhibition dedicated to the conception and creation of these tiny masterpieces of Irish design.  

The exhibition will display a large collection of stamps as well as artwork, printing proofs and other treasures from the An Post archives, many of which will be on public display for the first time. Viewing the array of stamps created in Ireland since the printing of the first official stamp in 1922 will allow visitors to chart the evolution of Irish national identity during the first century of Independence and explore how this has been captured in the development of Irish stamp design.  

Exhibition curator and archivist for An Post, Stephen Ferguson said; “This exhibition acknowledges the contribution of all involved in Irish stamp production but, above all, it pays tribute to the stamp itself and invites our visitors to take time to think about this unassuming fragment of coloured paper: at first glance, just an everyday object in the corner of a letter but, on closer inspection, a work of art, a symbol of identity and a unique prism through which we can view and reflect on the formation and development of the Irish State.” 

This free exhibition has been generously supported by the Government of Ireland. 

Miniature Masterpieces will conclude the Decade of Centenaries by examining the role of Irish postage stamps in representing Ireland and its people over the last century. The exhibition will explore the changing representation of Ireland and its culture through stamp design, from the first official expression of Irish sovereignty with the overprinting of British King Geoge V stamps, to the very first twopenny Map of Ireland and Louis le Brocquy’s 1970 Europa set, to today’s confident expressions of Irish fashion, popular culture and urban street art.   

The production of postage stamps is a highly skilled process, one which draws on the combined skills and expertise of artists and designers, engravers, printers and IT specialists. Miniature Masterpieces will encourage visitors to consider the value of the postage stamp as a miniature representative of Ireland across the world and to envisage how it will evolve in this digital age.   

Details of an accompanying publication and limited-edition print to follow.