On 25 January 1900, a resolution was passed by the Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland which ‘gratefully accepted’ Henry Vaughan’s bequest of 31 watercolours and drawings by J.M.W. Turner RA. Vaughan was a wealthy English collector who died in 1899, aged 90. His valuable art collections were distributed among various public institutions. His prized Turner watercolours were divided between the National Galleries in London, Dublin and Edinburgh.
He was concerned for the long-term safety of the works and stipulated that they should only be shown in January and provided a cabinet for their safe storage when not on display. The Gallery undertook to ‘comply with the conditions laid down by Vaughan’s will for the management and exhibition of the drawings’ and this year’s showing continues what has become tradition much loved by visitors.