Laval Nugent - Warrior and Art Collector Exhibition Opens in Maynooth

Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, together with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ireland on Monday, May 13th opened the exhibition “Laval Nugent - Warrior and Art Collector” at the Maynooth University Library. The exhibition was launched by the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Ireland Ivan Mašina and the guests to the opening were also welcomed by Professor Marian Lyons and Professor Terence Dooley from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Today somewhat forgotten, Count Laval Nugent (1777-1862) was a central figure in Croatia’s development into the modern European country during the 19th century. The significance of Laval’s story is additionally interesting because this fervent advocate of Croatian nationhood was born in Ireland, was a member of the Irish nobility, as well as a field-marshal of the Austrian Army, Croatia then being part of the Habsburg Monarchy. Laval combined his brilliant military and political career with his personal interest in culture and Croatian history. Conducting archaeological excavations and collecting objects of art across Italy and the Croatian littoral, he assembled an impressive collection of artefacts that became the basis of the first museum in Croatia, the Museum Nugent, which Count Nugent placed on the Trsat Fortress above Rijeka, one of his Croatian estates. It is these objects procured by Laval that became the basis of two large collections of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb (as well as the permanent exhibition of the Museum"s Greek and Roman Collection), so it is no surprise that the Museum still safeguards Laval Nugent"s memory, through organizing this kind of exhibitions. This exhibition was organised with financial support from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.

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