For over a decade, previous festival director John Fitzpatrick, and trophies coordinator David J. Butler have been concerned for a location to safely and effectively display our unique collection of contemporary, vintage and antique national awards and reserve trophies – a collection in two parts.
The first part stems from an initiative commenced in 1994 by John Fitzpatrick, then newly appointed festival director, commissioning artists to use sympathetic media communicating the spirit of the Festival in Wood, Ceramic, Glass, Enamel, or Metal, often in combination. From the outset, the Festival retained a reserve item for posterity, thus allowing for a complete collection to be mounted in this display. A unique collection of (to date) twenty-seven limited edition annually commissioned National Trophies is the result, with works by Cormac Boydell (3), Eithne Ring (3), Wild Goose Studio (2), Ian McDonagh, Zoe Dalton, Aisling O’Leary, Olwyn Brady, Ayelet Lalor, Charlo Quain, Avril Daly, Diana Skalkos, Sean Hanrahan, Sean McCarthy, Tom Climent, Niamh O’Neill, Tom Cronin, Etain Hickey, Colm Murphy, Siobhan Steele, Fiona Godfrey, and this years.
The second part of the collection centres upon our non-current perpetual awards, a significant display of twelve mainly vintage trophies (dating from 1954 to 1983) of plaque or cup design – silver plate, metal alloy, Bakelite, wood and glass featuring – together with a particularly fine antique silver-gilt early nineteenth century cup. Some of these were awarded over several decades; others for only a very few years.
Both collections had been carefully stored in the Festival Office and other secure locations for many decades; in the case of the National Trophies, since the time of their commission and, in the case of the vintage trophies, for even longer. The MTU Cork School of Music Fleischmann Library now houses a permanent and bespoke display case with trophies and the more delicate contemporary pieces well lit upon its shelves, while an adjacent wall display of framed commissions compliments what will in time become a major hub for choral studies. There will be a QR code catalogue to facilitate the interpretation and further research of the collection.
It has been a pleasure to coordinate this project to fruition over the past year and, on behalf of the Festival Board, I would like to thank the library, buildings and school administration of MTU Cork School of Music for their great courtesy and consideration throughout.
David J. Butler, Trophies Coordinator