Waterford News

Masterpieces in Glass – an exciting new installation at the Bishop’s Palace

Bishops Palace Masterpiece in GlassBuilding on the success of recent imaginative attractions in Waterford, the Bishop’s Palace is about to become home to an original and innovative visitor experience on early glassmaking in Waterford.

The new re-enactor tour will be led by Susannah Penrose, granddaughter of one of the original founders of the Penrose Glass Factory. Her mother, Elizabeth Penrose’s beautiful shell cabinet, featuring a menagerie of delicate glass animals, was returned to Waterford City in 2014 and now forms the centrepiece of the exhibition as a direct link to the family. The museum itself has been revamped in recent weeks, with new installations of delicate glassware, fine silver and exotic porcelain to give visitors a real taste of the wealth and finery of upper-class eighteenth-century living.

The finale of the tour will feature a seventeen minute 4D presentation created by Emagine in association with Waterford Treasures – a partnership which has, in the past, led to the hugely successful King of the Vikings, Waterford’s most popular visitor attraction. Here, Elizabeth Penrose will take over from her daughter to continue telling the story of their family, and the foundation of the glassworks. The exhibition promises to bewitch and enthral visitors, taking them on a journey across the history of glassmaking in Waterford, featuring some familiar faces along with some new ones. The experience will immerse guests in the culture of eighteenth and nineteenth century Waterford, through the eyes of a young Quaker girl who witnessed the burgeoning economic and creative prosperity of the city first-hand.

The exhibition was officially opened by John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training and Skills. The opening day featured a summer cocktail reception, and two short lectures on early and modern glassmaking in Waterford City before visitors experienced the new installations at the Bishop’s Palace. Dr. Audrey Whitty, Head of Collections and Learning at the National Museum of Ireland spoke about the Penroses and their lasting legacy in the city, while Dr. John M. Hearne discussed the master craftsmen of the twentieth century and the impact the modern Glass factory has over modern Waterford. The day was a celebration of generations of glassmakers in the city, their work and their lives, and of that fine craft which put Waterford on the international map.


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