The Academy Our History Members Member Elections Diploma Collection

Since 1930, it became the custom, as in other academies, that those elected to Academician of the RUA should donate a work of high standing, a ‘Diploma Work’, to the Academy. This development also brought in work from Academicians in earlier years and was extended to Associate Academicians in 1990.

When this practice first started there were only few works in the collection, which were stored in various premises that the Academy rented in Belfast. Over the years the collection grew quite large and storage became a problem. The Old Museum in College Square North was home to the RUA for many years, but in 1973, due to increasing disturbances in troubled times, the premises were vacated. The bulk of the collection was moved to Hillsborough, in the care of Patric Stevenson, whilst some items were held in members’ houses, banks, universities etc. Unfortunately the Hillsborough storage was not appropriate for a fine art collection, and to stop further deterioration Neil Shawcross and Helen Falloon moved it to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra.

In the early 1980′s the Folk and Transport Museum could no longer hold the works, so with the help of Doreen Crockart and David Evans the collection was moved to yet another safe house in Belfast. At this time Solly Lipsitz became the ‘Keeper’ of the collection, and he undertook to catalogue and to value the works. In the late 1980′s the collection was moved to a strong–room in a Belfast storage building where it remained until September of this year.

The Diploma Collection is now on permanent display at the Academy’s offices in 5 Donegall Square South, Belfast (viewing by appointment).

Colin Davidson

Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Since graduating with a first class honours degree from the Art and Design Faculty at the University of Ulster in 1991, Colin Davidson has exhibited extensively in London, New York, Milan and across Ireland. He has been shown regularly at the Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, where he has twice won awards, and has been an Academician of the Royal Ulster Academy since 2006, having won the R.U.A. Gold Medal three times and the Silver Medal twice.

Colin Davidson’s work is in public and corporate collections across Ireland, including the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, the BBC, the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland, Limerick, the Office of Public Works Collection, Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland and Queen’s University, Belfast. A selection of portraits of writers and actors from Colin’s latest body of work is presently on display in the newly-reopened Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Artist Works

Sir Kenneth Branagh

Graphite, crayon and pastel on paper

122 x 112

Sir Kenneth Branagh

Graphite, crayon and pastel on paper

122 x 112