Honorary Member of the RHA & RUA

Brian Ferran was born in Derry in 1940 and he became an art teacher and taught for three years. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute in London University and of Brera Academy, Milan, he is former Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Since 1963, he has undertaken public and private art commissions and has exhibited regularly in Europe and North America. At the Oireachtas Exhibitions in 1965 an 1976 he won the Douglas Hyde Gold Medal for Irish historical painting. In 1970 he was a Leverhulme Scholar. He is an Honorary Member of the RHA and the RUA and exhibits annually at the exhibitions of both institutions.

View ‘Three Heads’within the Collection

Three Heads by Brain Ferran

Three Heads by Brain Ferran

A Consummate Colourist

Throughout Ferran’s practice he revisits past themes relating to the ancient history of Ireland in particular Colmcille and An Tain bo Cuailgne (The Cattle RAid of Cooley). This preoccupation with such traditions provides rich imagery of warriors prepared for battle that fit within his richly coloured abstract landscapes. Not only has he the ability to create narratives Ferran is also a true colorist and this is evident throughout Ferran’s work.

My intention was to illuminate the inferred narrative rather than illustrate it. I sought to surprise myself and to imbue eighteen images with a palpable intensity and a sense of magic. The themes in this exhibtion are inspired by one of Dallan’s descriptions of Colmcille, ie “He was learned in the lore of places.” – Brian Ferran on his body of work The Lore of Places, February 2008

Brian Ferran is a consummate colourist with a formidable visual intelligence., a clear voice with a distinctive accent and a personal vocabulary…….His work imbues the spirit of powerfully felt symbolism yet subjugated within a framework of painterly gestures, marks and textured surfaces. His long time preoccupation with pattern and texture continues to be manifest in these works.” Dr. Denise Ferran

Solo exhibitions

  • Waterside Gallery, Derry 1965
  • Molesworth Gallery, Dublin 1967
  • New Gallery, Belfast 1968
  • Queen’s University Gallery, Belfast 1970
  • gordon gallery, Derry 1970
  • David Hendricks Gallery, Dublin 1974
  • gordon gallery, Derry 1974
Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast 1974
  • Irish Tourist Office, New York 1975
  • Sean Desmond Gallery, New York 1976
  • David Hendricks Gallery, Dublin 1977
  • Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast 1977
North-West Arts Festival, Keys Gallery, Derry 1978
  • Aisling Gallery, New York  1978
  • David Hendricks Gallery, Dublin 1983
  • Trevelyan Gallery, University of Durham 1982
  • Salve Regina College, Newport, Rhode Island
Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Centre, American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts 1990
  • Gallery on the Green, Lexington, Massachusetts 1991
  • Aisling Gallery, Hingham, Massachusetts 1991
  • Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 1992
  • Jorgensen Gallery, Dublin 1993
  • United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts 1993
  • Savva Gallery, East 53rd Street, New York 1996
  • Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University, Long Island, New York 1996

 Group exhibitions

  • Irish Exhibition of Living Art
  • Young Irish Artists’ Foundation
  • Royal Hibernian Academy
  • Ulster Academy, Belfast
  • Oireachtas, Dublin
  • Cuimneachán 1916, Municipal Gallery, Dublin
  • Irish Graphic Artists, Minnesota
  • Independent Artists, Dublin
  • Gordon Lambert Collection shown at Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, Wexford
Festival & Ulster Museum
  • From Yeats to Ballagh, Lunds Kunstall, Sweden
  • Galerie des Philiosophes, Geneva
  • Galleria Solferino, Milan
  • Galerie Stebler, Geneva
  • Collector’s Choice, Playhouse Gallery, Leeds & Dartington College of Art Gallery, Devon
  • ROSC Young Irish Artists, Galway 1971
  • Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh 1971
  • Westgate Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1971
  • ROSC Irish Art 1943-73, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork 1980
  • Belfast Artists, Museo Francisco Goritia, Mexico City 1984
  • Northern Irish Artists, Hong Kong Cvic Centre 1985
  • Sense of Ireland Festival – Contemporary Works on Paper, Singapore 1986
  • Wortzel Gallery, Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts 1989
  • Eight Artists from Britain, Boston, Massachusetts 1990
  • Curators’ & Critics – Exhibition, Boat House Gallery, Skibereen, Co. Cork 1994


  • An Chomhairle Ealaíon
  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • Derry City Council
  • Belfast Education & Library Board
  • Córas Iompair Eireann
  • Córas Tráchtála, Dublin
  • First Trust Bank, Belfast
  • Great Southern Hotels
  • Institute of Public Administration, Dublin
  • Kilkenny Design Centre
  • Gordon Lambert Collection
  • University of Ulster,
  • Coleraine
North West Arts Trust
  • Northern Bank Finance Group, Dublin
  • Northern Ireland Department of Commerce
  • Queen’s University of Belfast
  • St. Mary’s College of Education, Belfast
  • St. Joseph’s College of Education, Belfast
  • Office of Public Works, Dublin
  • Stranmillis College, Belfast
  • Ulster Arts Club
  • Ulster College, Arts & Design Centre, Belfast
  • Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork
  • Allied Irish Bank, Dublin,
  • Ulster Museum


  • Painting & Sculpture by Kenneth Jaimison, Causeway, 1971
  • The Arts in Ulster, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Gill and MacMilan, Dublin
Mike Catto, Art in Ulster, Blackstaff Press Ltd 1957-77
  • Irish Art from 1600, by Anne Crookshank, published by Department Foreign Affairs, Dublin 1979
  • Making Sense of Ulster, Art and Artists Magazine 1980
  • A Concise History of Irish Art, Thames & Hudson, London
  • Artist, Model & Reality by Belinda Loftus
  • The Arts in Ireland, a chronology by Christopher Fitz-simon, Gill & MacMillan 1982


  • Douglas Hyde Gold Medal & Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon) supplementary awards at Oireachtas Exhibitions, Dublin 1965 & 1978
  • Leverhulme European Awards, London 1969
  • Conor Prize of the Royal Ulster Academy, Belfast 1979
  • Pittsburg Creative Arts Fellowship at Massaciuccoli, Lucca, Italy 1983
  • Haughton Award of the Ulster Watercolour Society 1985