The National College of Art and Design occupies a unique position in art and design education in Ireland. It offers the largest range of art and design degrees in the State at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The origins of the College date from 1746 when Robert West had a private drawing school in George’s Lane, Dublin, which was taken over by the Dublin Society (later the RDS).
Throughout the eighteenth century there were three schools: Figure Drawing, Landscape and Ornamental Drawing and Architectural Drawing. The School of Modelling was added in 1811. From 1854 the institution was controlled by the Department of Science and Art, London. In 1877 it was renamed The Dublin Metropolitan School of Art.
The Department of Education took control in 1924, and twelve years later it became the National College of Art. In 1971 the National College of Art and Design was established by act of an tOireachtas and is now governed by a board (An Bord) appointed by the Minister for Education and Science.