Sunday 15 September 2019

Silver coin celebrating Eileen Gray is unveiled

Eileen Gray, 1878 - 1976, the first woman to feature on a commemorative coin in Ireland.
Eileen Gray, 1878 - 1976, the first woman to feature on a commemorative coin in Ireland.
The €10 limited edition silver proof coin celebrating Eileen Gray.
The €10 limited edition silver proof coin celebrating Eileen Gray.

BY Esther hayden

Enniscorthy native Eileen Gray has been honoured with a limited edition collector coin.

Last Wednesday the Central Bank issued a limited edition silver proof collector €10 coin celebrating the renowned designer and architect who died in 1976.

This is the first collector coin issued by the bank celebrating the achievements of an Irish woman. Gray was regarded as one of the leading members of the modern design movement in France.

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Sharon Donnery said: 'On behalf of the Central Bank of Ireland, I am delighted to present our new €10 silver proof coin commemorating the life and work of designer Eileen Gray to the National Museum and its permanent Eileen Gray exhibition.

'We are honoured to commemorate Gray's work, achievements and her contribution to modern movements in architecture and design. Gray was a pre-eminent figure within the Modernist movement and it is very fitting that she was chosen as the first woman to feature on a collector coin issued by the Central Bank of Ireland.'

Raghnall Ó Floinn, Director of the National Museum of Ireland said: 'The Museum has had a long-standing relationship with the Central Bank of Ireland and our exhibition Airgead traces one thousand years of Irish coinage. Eileen Gray's place as one of the world's greatest modernists is at last being recognised both here and abroad and is reflected in our exhibition gallery devoted to her work. We are delighted to be associated with this special commemorative coin honouring her achievements in architecture, furniture and interior design.'

The coin features a portrait of Gray in front of a representative image of one of her most iconic modernist designs 'Screen'.

Screen is one of Eileen Gray's most iconic pieces of furniture and is indicative of her modernist design tendencies. Utilising the ancient Japanese technique of lacquer, Screen came to embody the way in which Gray's work managed to combine everyday functionality with aesthetic charm.

The silver proof coin was designed by Italian artist Sandra Deiana.

Ms Deiana said she was 'immediately struck by the idea of designing a coin to pay tribute to a female artist who worked in a period when it was still difficult to succeed in the world of work, especially in the arts'.

Forming part of the European Silver Coin Programme, this coin also features a re-designed obverse incorporating the Irish harp and year-date with the Europa Star symbol.

The Eileen Gray coin is available to the public at a cost of €60, and has an issue limit of 6,000 pieces.

Coins can be purchased by phoning 1890 307 607 between 9.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. You can also download an order form from, or purchase the coin directly from the Central Bank on Dame Street in Dublin.

A permanent exhibition gallery devoted to Eileen Gray's work can be seen at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Art and History.

Wexford People

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