Meditation on Plates

Inspired by Lord Charlemont’s Casino

Meditation on Plates

OPW, the Office of Public Works in Ireland, and the Casino Marino present the exhibition ‘Meditation on Plates, Inspired by Lord Charlemont’s Casino’ in July 2014 in one of Ireland’s most highly regarded historic buildings, the Casino at Marino, Dublin. This miniature building is regarded as both unique and one of the finest representations of eighteenth-century neoclassical European architecture. Thirty-eight esteemed Irish, Italian, and international artists, designers, and architects were invited to respond to the Casino Marino building in a personal drawing. The drawings were then transferred onto porcelain plates and reproduced in a limited edition of sixteen plates per artist. The resulting collection is astonishing for the variety of interpretations and the beauty of the work. ‘Meditation on Plates, Inspired by Lord Charlemont’s Casino’ pays homage to Lord Charlemont, to his love of art, and to his passion for Italy.

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A perfect architecture in a perfect setting. The perfect opportunity to realise a series of perfect souvenirs. The collection of plates inspired by the Casino Marino is truly exemplary. Lord Charlemont’s Casino is an inexhaustible source of symbols, signs, decorations, proportions, shapes, and environments full of meaning. And all the authors immersed themselves with excitement in this small magical architecture as a great neoclassical gem, and every interpretation turned into poetry. An extraordinary collection of round drawings, rich in memory and nostalgia. And you can understand how aesthetic pleasure has played a part in all of these inventions, so different from one another but all developed under the hypnosis of the perfection of this architecture. Each author found his personal charm, his joy, his meditation. No one could avoid the sense of strength and protection emanating from this small, perfect metaphysical colossus. So they have designed it and relieved it with the intellectual and physical pleasure of making it their own, many indeed wished to draw the building itself. A collective performance, an unexpected movement, choral and cathartic, such was the charisma of this secular temple. So, not just as series of plates based on a single theme, but a rhythm, a summary of vibration, the perfect gift, indeed.

Alessandro Mendini, 2014



Use the arrows to the left and right to explore the collection of plates that featured in this exhibition.

Cinzia Anguissola

“The frieze decoration on the outside of the Casino Marino inspired the spiral in the middle of the plate. All the elements of the Casino are represented in the yellow rectangles around the plate’s frame. The reason these rectangles are pointed towards the centre is because each element is part of the Casino, as well as the image. The only image looking out is that of the architect, who like myself as an architect, is always looking for inspiration elsewhere.”

Nigel Atkinson

“The artwork for this plate draws inspiration from the Neo Classical architecture set within a romantic, landscaped, garden and focuses on the relationship between interior and exterior spaces, actual and imagined.”

Nigel Atkinson is an artist interested in creative crossovers between painting, words, textiles and objects. His work explores relationships between the interior and exterior and the play of light on surfaces and space. He lives and works between London and Pyrénées-Orientales in the South of France. Collections: V & A (London), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), F.I.T. (New York). Website.

Countess Ann Bernstorff

Oisin Byrne

“My plate is decorated with a duck egg (or azzurro) blue greek fret pattern with gold detailing which mirrors the ceiling mouldings at the Casino at Marino. The entire pattern is hand drawn, with a strong but fluctuating line.”

Born in Dublin Ireland in 1983, Oisin Byrne’s practice incorporates drawing, portraiture, performance, installation and film. He is currently studying an MFA at Goldsmiths University in London, and recieved a BA from the NCAD Dublin in 2006. Byrne’s work is included in numerous important collections both public and private, and his limited edition artist publication is stocked by Printed Matter NYC, and Shakespeare and Co., Paris. His work is substantially represented in the Irish State Collection. Website.

Aldo Cibic

I always find difficult when I have to start a drawing on a blank page; For the Casino in Marino, I thought that I wanted to draw it as it is, resting on a green leaves cloud. The drawing is like a sketch but this is what makes it even more simple.

Aldo Cibic was born in Schio (Vi) in 1955. In 1977 he moved to Milan to work with Ettore Sottsass, becoming his partner in 1980, together with Matteo Thun and Marco Zanini. That same year, 1980, marked the creation of Memphis, of which Cibic was one of the designers and founders, under the guidance of Sottsass. Today the main activities take place in Milan with Cibic workshop, following urban, architecture and interior projects, design and research, addressing the development of new design typologies. Website.

Alec Cobbe

“I assembled some of the architectural features of the Casino into a design reflecting one of the ceilings within it, and to animate the design I represented the chimney urn as it would appear if the building was in use with the fires lit.”


Margaret Corcoran

“In Milan I had the privilege of being shown a very beautiful private collection of art – it was there that I was made aware of Piranesi. His ‘Remains of An Ancient Tomb, called La Conocchia’ made a lasting impression. My work is often art-historically engaged and at that time I was concerned with the Irish 18th Century artists George Barret and Thomas Roberts among others; and I could not understand this sudden jump in interest – but I went with it, and afterwards realised that the Earl of Charlemont was the link.”


Paul Costelloe

“It is such an honor to have been chosen to take part in this wonderful exhibition. I am a great believer in preserving Ireland’s great land which helps keep our identity alive today.”

Dublin born Paul Costelloe is one of the most established names in British Fashion. With a strong sense of style and the desire to create wearable designs with a fresh feel, it is easy to see why Paul Costelloe has been the head of such a successful label for over 30 years. In the late 1960s, Paul went to Paris and enrolled at the Chamber Syndicate, the French equivalent of the British Fashion Council. Typically dismissive of his formal training, Paul says he learnt most about fashion just by living in Paris in the era of Ungaro and Cardin. Website.

Michael Craig

“The youthful Earl of Charlemont was in danger of going wrong – gaming, drinking, whoring etc. He was persuaded to refine his morals by going on a ‘Grand Tour’ from Dublin to Constantinople and, eventually, back again. Ten years of expedition returned great intellectual treasure. Despite facing Death on many occasions – pirates, brigands, storms and women – he survived to believe that his future was in Ireland; a decision that benefits us all to this day.”

Born in Dublin, Michael Craig is best known for his pen and ink drawings of architectural subjects. Attention to detail on a miniature scale has led to various commissions including Ireland’s third and fourth definitive series of stamps. His illustrated books include ‘Fish out of Water’ and ‘Mausolea Hibernica’.

Dorothy Cross

“The drawings on my plate are from my mothers school drawing portfolio, probably drawn around 1935. The portrait in the centre is of her – drawn by another hand. My mother had an incredible eye for beauty. I placed three small crabs on the drawing and photographed them… three siblings.”

Born in Cork Ireland in 1956 . Dorothy Cross received a BA from Leicester Polytechnic, England in 1979 and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, California in 1982 . She works with sculpture, video and photography. Website.

Michael Cummins

“My drawing starts at the centre of the inlaid floor in the China Closet, looking at the irregularly shaped wood pieces which make up the symmetrical shape ; I was happy to find something irregular in this building of such perfect regularity . From there the drawing feels its way out to the labourers who made the gardens , by referencing the tools found in plasterwork in the room. The numbers are taken from a survey plan carried out as part of the restoration and map the various timbers from around the world. Some damp patches have crept into the drawing as they did into the building during its time out of use. The fire extinguisher is included under current safety regulation because a fire can occur in the imagined world just as easily as in the real one.”

Michael Cummins grew up in Dublin and studied Painting at NCAD. He now lives in Co. Sligo where he continues to draw, paint and make sculpture.

Vanessa Donoso Lopez

“The origination of certain objects and images represent the need to recreate the memory of the impact that certain subjects, and encounters have had on me. The actual process of making the work allow me to keep or to reminisce this experience. This technique evokes states of familiarity and recognition.”

Arthur Duff

“On receiving the brief I was interested to imagine what it was that brought Lord Charlemont to Marino in the first place. Coming out of a crowded noisy smelly city it must have been such a relief to find fresh air but of greater value was surely the prospect of an uninterrupted view. Given that the memory of his beloved Italy must have remained with him I also wonder if the line of the distant mountains across the bay reminded him of his travels and gave him the notion of being able to leave again. All of this is speculation and so rather that using a firm line I have dotted in the horizon across the bay with the backdrop of the mountains. I am calling it the Point of View.”

Nathalie Du Pasquier

“…using that ‘azzurro’ blue that for me has to do with the time the casino was built, i have put together these rotating hard edges shapes that are there as symbols for all the new ideas that were emerging with the illuminism and were still very much at the stage of abstract ideas…anyway first of all I wanted to design a nice plate ……white…”

Nathalie Du Pasquier was born in Bordeaux (France) in 1957, she has lived in Milan since 1979. Until 1986 she worked as a designer and was a founder member of the Italian design group Memphis. In 1987 painting became her main activity. Website.

David Eager Maher

“The design for my plate is constructed using gold leaf and applied in a way that is rough and shows cracks. Above this is a silhouette image of a potato plant, painted in a solid black form, that has echoes of botanical illustration. The function of the image has a duality, being both whimsical and loaded. The surface orientation and deeper orientation correlate with one another. On the surface the plate can be encountered as a beguiling object, the imagery is suggestive of the potato blight. I was interested in making an object that resonates with the idea of illusion and it’s close companion delusion. Both of these aspects are inherent in the casino and the mind set of the colonial privileged classes.”


Lisa Farmer

“This plate celebrates the state in which opposing forces harmonise; the absolute beauty of being in or coming into equilibrium.”

American-born artist / designer Lisa Farmer produces unique leather objects that play with ironic forms and designs. Her labour intensive design pieces are both sculpture and product. Utilising premium vegetable tanned leather and immense craftsmanship, she combines traditional leather-working skills with contemporary technologies, producing avant-garde works distinguished by their originality and timelessness. A graduate from East Carolina University (USA) with a Bachelor Fine Arts in Visual Communication, Lisa now has her own studio practice in Milan where she designs and meticulously crafts contemporary art objects. Website.


“I am glad I’ve been invited to give my personal artistic interpretation of this stunning Casino. Neoclassical architecture is a theme that is very dear to me: deeply rooted in the history of the Fornasetti artistic oeuvre, and very recurrent as well. This project to me represents a way of relating to Lord Charlemont, and I surely hope I contributed in enhancing his idea, and dream, of bringing an Italian Arcadia in Ireland.”

Piero’s son, Barnaba, is perpetuating the Fornasetti tradition by continuing to produce, and revive, Fornasetti designs. At the helm of the company and its creative heart, Barnaba is the custodian of his father’s legacy. An abundance of important motifs have emerged from the Fornasetti archive thanks to his skilful tenacity and dedication. The Fornasetti Atelier is currently managed by him, who has successfully maintained in-house production, revived as well as reinterpreted his father’s designs. Barnaba also works in collaboration with specialised companies entrusted to produce licensed products under the Fornasetti mark.

Duilio Forte

“Sleipnir, Odino’s horse is shown here as protector of the Casino Marino.”

Italian and Swedish artist, he graduated in architecture in Milan and he conducts research in art, focusing on the spatial dimension. In his work the practical experience of the Scandinavian tradition links with the complexity of Italian culture. In 1998 he founded AtelierFORTE, an evolving space that’s the theatre of Duilio Forte’s research about art and everyday life design. On February 12, 2009, celebrating 200 years by Darwin’s birth, he wrote the Manifesto ArkiZoic, based on the centrality of life on Earth and inspired by natural evolution. His works has been shown the 2008 and 2010 editions of the Biennale of Architecture in Venice.

Paolo Giordano

David Godbold

“The design for the plate combines two specific designs, each indicating a distinct idea. The lower level is an idealized landscape, source from a period sketchbook of the Casino gardens. Above it is overlaid an image of a blindfolded figure (originally illustrating an 18th Century edition of Descartes’ 1649 Treatise, The passions of the Soul), finding their way, unsighted, or de-sensed. Simply put, the work collectively becomes a metaphor for the human condition, as we blunder through life, commonly immune to the earthly paradise of around us.”

David Godbold, b. 1961, UK, lives and works in Dublin. Godbold was educated at Goldsmith’s College, London, and first came to prominence in the mid-1980s as one half of the duo Godbold & Wood. Having moved to Ireland at the beginning of the 90’s, Godbold’s work concentrated on the critical examination of the production, circulation and reception of visual imagery in both ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Website.

Nuala Goodman

“My plate is a drawing of the Casino Marino in Dublin and the Villa Rotonda in Vicenza. The background is the sea in between, the platinum drops trace the link between the two buildings.”

Nuala Goodman is an Irish artist who has lived and worked in Milan since coming to work at Ettore Sottsass’ studio. In the design world she has worked with Alessi, Swatch and Moroso, among others. In 1995 co­founded “I+I” ,a company designing objects and textiles produced in India and Nepal, using traditional artisan techniques. Currently involved in new projects with I+I and Alessi. Most recent solo exhibition was ‘Gardens’ at Palazzo Fortuny Venice, also shown at Rosanna Orlandi Milan and Farmleigh in Dublin. In collaboration with Moroso. Nuala’s work is represented in the permanent collection of the Fortuny Museum, O.P.W. Dublin as well as in private collections. ‘Meditation on Plates, inspired by Lord Charlemont’s Casino’ is the first time she has curated an exhibition.

Richard Gorman

“I visited Casino Marino the first time as a schoolboy in the sixties. Looking again at it, I thought about its four porticos. This resonates with my present work, so my plate is more a connection with than an interpretation of the building.”

Richard Gorman, born in 1946, is a painter printer papermaker working Dublin Milan and Japan.
Itami Museum of Art, Mitaka Art Foundation, Koriyama Museum, CCGA
Fukushima, Mitaka Museum of Art, Ashikaga Museum of Art.
Represented by Kerlin Gallery Dublin.

Alessandro Guerriero

“I redesigned the Casino Marino in multi colours as though it had been designed today.Every side has different colours and it’s difficult to understand which is the principal side of the building: every side seems the principal side! I’m all for a sense of kitsch because kitsch is the art of happiness.”

Maria Christina Hamel

“Melusina at Marino’s”
I picked up a topic dear to me which is the myth of Melusine I found on the chimneys of the Casino Marino. In the drawing on the plate I represent Melusine as a portrait of myself.

Born in New Delhi, Maria Christina Hamel spent her childhood in India, Thailand, Austria, and in 1973 she moved to Milan, where she graduated at the “Scuola Politecnica di Design” in 1979. After working experiences with Andries van Onck, Ugo La Pietra, Ambrogio Rossari, 1981-1994 she has been the main assistant to Alessandro Mendini, also at the University of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna. Having actively participated in Studio Alchimia, she soon developed her own particular style multicultural style.

Eithne Jordan

“I was influenced in this design by the Thomas Roberts painting of the Casino from 1773, with a distant view of Dublin Bay and the Sugarloaf glimpsed in the background. I imagined a contemporary view of Dublin Bay from the vantage point of one of the Casino lions which are placed at each corner of the podium. The outer circumference pattern of my plate refers to the egg and dart design which is used extensively in the interior moldings of the Casino.”

Eithne Jordan was born in Dublin where she studied at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology from 1972-76. She was awarded a DAAD scholarship in 1984 to study at the Hochschule der Künste in West Berlin, where she subsequently lived for several years. Website.

John Kindness

“The work is based on the Winged Fauns relief on a pedestal at the Casino. The materials come from the Thames at low tide. Basically a plate of broken plates. In parts of England these are called ‘Booty plates’ and are a vernacular art form in many countries.”

Fergus Martin

“The Casino at Marino is a perfect thing. My favourite image of it is Thomas Roberts’s painting, which made me want to paint something delicate and glowing. I painted it in green tea.”

Martin has shown widely in Ireland and internationally and his work is included in many private and public collections, including those of The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, The Office of Public Works. Sculpture commissions include Steel , at the East Gate entrance gates to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2008, and Lincoln Place at Dublin Dental Hospital, in 2010. Awards include The Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York, 1999 and 2006; The Marten Toonder Award, awarded by The Arts Council , in 1999; the Curtin O’Donoghue Photography Prize at the RHA Annual Exhibition in 2010. He was elected to Aosdana in 2001. Fergus Martin is represented by Green on Red Gallery, Dublin. Website.

Stephen McKenna

“My design for the plate was based on the original ground plan for the Casino, in combination with the colours and design of the wooden floors.”

Stephen McKenna was born in London in 1939, where he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1959-64. From 1971 until 1999 he divided his time between Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Italy. He currently lives in Ireland. He is a member of Aosdána and of the Royal Hibernian Academy of which he was President from 2005 until 2009. He has exhibited widely in galleries and public institutions throughout Europe and the USA. Website.

Alessandro Mendini

Fulvia Mendini

John J. O’Connell

John J. O’Connell, Dip. Arch, F.R.I.A.I. Conservation Architect, has received many awards including the R.I.A.I. Silver Medal for Architectural Conservation for Fota House, Co. Cork. The main focus of his work is with the conservation and restoration of Historic Buildings and Interiors. John has contributed to a number of architectural publications including Dr. Maurice Craig’s ‘Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size’.

Terri Pecora

“Venus and Apollo are on the facade facing south, looking out towards Italy where the architectural inspiration for the Casino comes from. The two statues are fitting symbols for Italy where sensuality is a key player in everyday culture, along with food of course, making a plate the perfect canvas for my sketch. The Italian fiery pepper, an aphrodisiac symbol used to ward off bad luck, is the final tribute to the buildings noble origins.”

Terri Pecora, Californian, was born in 1958. She studied fashion illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and transferred to Italy in 1988 to attend the Product Design Masters Program at Domus Academy in Milan. In 1991 she established her own studio, working with various European companies. Website.

Donatella Pellini

“The idea of the decoration of the plate is born by looking at the architectural motifs of Casino Marino with the eye of one who is used to create jewellery: the friezes and stucco become the precious elements that creates a necklace.”

Third generation of bijoux-makers women, Donatella Pellini is now the creative soul of Pellini brand, that was born in the atelier founded by Emma Caimi Pellini in 1947. Starting from the Eighties, she works for Italian, French and American fashion designers, making jewelry for their catwalks and experimenting with modern and innovative materials. Since 1990, she experiments new inclusions into resin: an innovative material handcrafted by artisans, which becomes wearable sculptures that tell the story of Donatella’s world.

Kathy Prendergast

“The drawing on my plate is based on the door knob at Casino Marino. I loved the fact that in designing this building even the door knobs were treated with special attention with filagree and whorls trailing over the wood. Such beauty! Everyone has to open and close doors, from the Ist Earl of Charlemont to the maids and cleaners. Beauty is for everyone!”

Kathy Prendergast was educated in NCAD, Dublin and RCA London. Her work has revolved around a potent cluster of issues chief among which are sexuality, identity, landscape, mapping and power. She came to widespread attention for her monumental project, ‘City Drawings’ for which she won the Best Young Artist Award at the Venice Biennale 1994. In recent years Prendergast has exhibited widely in various venues including Tate Britain, Venice and Sydney Biennales, the ICA, Boston, the Drawing Center, New York, Kerlin Gallery 2007 and 2009, Peer, London, 2010, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin and Berardo Museum, Lisbon. Website.

Luca Scacchetti

“My plate portray the architect of Casino Marino, Sir William Chambers, unrolling an architectural plan on the top of a my sketch of the building and from chromatic background blue, sea water and Pompeian red, three colors at the base of Neoclassicism. On one of these backgrounds appear Chinese characters in order to remember how this great architect was especially admired for bringing in the English Neoclassicism the exotic crush of chinoiserie and orientalism.”

George Sowden

“…my design started working around the original wooden floors from Casino Marino.”

Victor Togliani

Kyoko Wainai

“When Lord Charlemont had the Casino designed, in the eighteenth century, it coincided with the great flowering of the Edo Period in Japan, a time of peace and high artistic achievement. My grandmother was a kimono designer of renown in northern Japan. During WWII her way of quiet anti war protest was to make lots of beautiful undergarments for girls using kimono fabric, the designs for which in many cases date back to that golden time in the seventeen hundreds. She made the connexion in a sweet yet avant garde way. I found this piece of fabric in her treasure chest of remnants after her death. Probably made for a young girl on her seventh birthday, for the traditional celebration for healthy children as they grew up, it embodies the message, strong and feminine that I want to bring from deep in her heart. I added the dots to represent the landscape setting of the Casino and Dublin, binding these concepts together.”



On Saturday 12th July the exhibition was launched in a wonderful evening in the grounds of the Casino. Watch a video of the speeches here, and scroll down for photographs.


Click on the thumbnail images to access the online article.

Creative Response

In October 2015, the Casino hosted an exhibition by local school, Maryfield College, called Creative Response to Meditation on Plates. Students were encouraged by their art teachers to respond to the exhibition by designing, making, and firing their own plates, and mounting an exhibition in the original kitchen, pantry, and scullery of the Casino basement.



Some plates are still available to purchase, from Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. On the image opposite those which are sold out are marked by an X. Click this image to see it larger.

Plates are €150 each; cash payments only are accepted. Please get in touch on 086 6062729 to order over the phone, or reserve to collect in person.