23 October, 2022
The Hunt Museum is very pleased to announce our collaboration with the Family of Richard Harris and University College Cork to co-create an exhibition in Limerick based on this marvellous personal archive in 2024.
Richard Harris archive collection donated to University College Cork
- The archives of Richard Harris have been donated to University College Cork, home to one of Ireland’s leading film schools.
- UCC Library and the Richard Harris Estate have collaborated to house a collection of letters, photographs, literary works, artefacts and professional and personal documents which belonged to the late actor.
Announcement 24 October 2022; London / Cork
University College Cork (UCC) and the Richard Harris Estate are delighted to announce today (Monday 24th October) that the archives of Richard Harris have been donated to UCC.
The Richard Harris archives span over 50 years and are an extensive collection of manuscripts, letters, photographs, literary works, artefacts and professional and personal documents which belonged to the late actor. The Richard Harris Archive gives a unique insight into one of Ireland’s most legendary actors who starred in some of the most celebrated pieces of cinema of the last half century, and who won and was nominated for the most prestigious awards in film and theatre.
Among the archives are Richard’s personal creative writing manuscripts including poetry, publicity and location photos from his screen and stage performances including Camelot, The Field, Pirandello’s Henry IV and as Professor Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. In addition, the archive includes private memos, items from film sets, Young Munster rugby plaques and pictures as well as letters and wire communications from family and friends, arts critics, and co-performers.
First public exhibition in Limerick
The first public exhibition of the archives will take place in Richard Harris’s birth city of Limerick at the Hunt Museum and due to the generous bequest of the Harris family, and the assistance of the late actor’s son Jared, the placement of this remarkable collection will be a long-lasting legacy of the internationally acclaimed actor’s strong roots in Ireland and Munster.
“Our family is excited about bringing this collection to the public in Limerick and also basing it around the particular academic expertise of Dr Barry Monahan” stated Jared Harris “Barry is a leading expert on our father’s career and University College Cork is home to a really exciting film school. We hope the public will enjoy the Limerick exhibition and students of film, music and theatre will find in the collection a fascinating trove of information.”
Leading expert on the career of Richard Harris
Dr Barry Monahan from the Department of Film & Screen Media at UCC research focuses on the relationship between Irish film and theatre, and the work of Richard Harris, particularly his contribution with his contemporaries to defining a national style of performance on stage and screen.
“The Richard Harris Collection bridges important moments in the biography of the world-celebrated Irish actor, offering fascinating insights to aspects of his career and personality that might have been lost in the gap between his public and private stories” stated Dr Barry Monahan.
Jill Cousins, Director of The Hunt Museum in Limerick stated “It will be an honour to curate this wonderful archive into an exhibition about one of Limerick’s favourite sons. We are looking forward to the collaboration with University College Cork and the Harris Family and to the joyful experience people will get from a greater insight into the man who was both an athlete and an actor.”
Archives give personal glimpse into life of actor
A preview of the collection was presented by Jared Harris and University College Cork at an event attended by members of the Harris family in London. Prominent items from the archives were unveiled at the event which took place in the Savoy Hotel’s Richard Harris Suite, where the late actor resided for many years.
Harris’s personal documents reveal a man whose skills as a gifted athlete and talented rugby player not only served him in practical ways for his performance in This Sporting Life, but for the duration of his career on stage and screen, and as a writer, director and producer of universal acclaim.
New stage of cultural collections at UCC
University College Cork’s acquisition of these archives marks a new stage in the development of contemporary cultural collections at the university.
Crónán Ó Doibhlin, Head of Collections at UCC Library said, “The Richard Harris Archive will be of great benefit to the arts and culture industry to Richard Harris’s home province of Munster, where his legacy as a loved and internationally respected actor continues to be celebrated and cherished.”
UCC has plans to develop a UCC Treasures Gallery which will be a fully secure and serviced space which will provide for public display and interpretation of a variety of artefacts.
Further details of University College Cork Library’s Richard Harris Archive exhibition at the Hunt Museum, Limerick will be released at a later date
About Richard Harris:
Richard St. John Harris (1 October, 1930–25 October, 2002) was an Irish actor, writer and musical performer. He appeared with inexhaustible talent on stage and screen, most notably as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he won Best Actor at The Cannes Film Festival (1963). He was nominated for the Academy Award twice, in 1964 for This Sporting Life and in 1991 for The Field. He won The Golden Globe for his portrayal as King Arthur in the 1968 film Camelot, and later in his life went on to portray the role in the 1981 revival of the stage musical. In his later career, he played English Bob, a gunfighter, in Clint Eastwood’s Western Unforgiven (1992), Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000), and Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, the latter of which was his final film role.
About Dr Barry Monahan
Barry Monahan lectures in the Department of Film & Screen Media at University College Cork. In his research on the relationship between Irish film and theatre, he has studied the work of Richard Harris, and particularly his contribution with his contemporaries to defining a national style of performance on stage and screen.
About University College Cork
Established in 1845 University College Cork (UCC) has a long and proud history. George Boole, who laid the foundations of the information age, became its first Professor of Mathematics in 1849, while Mary Ryan was appointed the first female Professor in Ireland and the UK in 1925. With over 22,500 students UCC is today regarded and ranked as Ireland’s leading university in the area of sustainability. UCC is a research-intensive university and is home to many of Ireland’s leading research centres including APC Microbiome Ireland, the Tyndall National Institute, MaREI and INFANT. Discover more at ucc.ie
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