Chester Beatty Library

In the summer of 2019 our family had the chance to spend almost three months in Dublin and I’ll try to tell you about everything interesting, popular or not, in the city. Overall, I wouldn’t say that I liked Dublin much, unlike Ireland. If you go out of the city everything is gorgeous, but Dublin itself not so much… There were amazing places, of course, and I will tell you about one of them now.

Described by Lonely Planet as ‘not just the best museum in Ireland but one of the best in Europe’, the Chester Beatty is the pre-eminent Irish museum promoting the appreciation and understanding of world cultures with holdings of manuscripts, rare books, and other treasures from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. An engaging and welcoming space, visitors from Ireland and overseas will find permanent and temporary displays, an intercultural learning programme and a broad variety of public activities for all ages and backgrounds. 

Once the private library of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, a successful American mining engineer, collector and philanthropist, the Chester Beatty is also today a research library for scholars from all over the world.

The exhibits are made in three different sections: Places, World religions and Materials and techniques.

In addition to some 950 diverse examples of Chinese snuff bottles (the collecting of which was one of Chester Beatty’s lifelong passions), the Chinese collection encompasses paintings, court textiles, manuscripts, rare books and prints from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Collection material from Egypt includes manuscripts written on papyrus, parchment and paper covering almost 3,000 years of the human experience.

The Ethiopian manuscripts in the collection are primarily written on parchment in the Christian liturgical language of Ge’ez, and are often beautifully illuminated.

The Chester Beatty has a beautiful collection of French manuscripts, prints and printed books. These include illuminated Books of Hours, royal commissions such as books from the library of Marie Antoinette and early twentieth-century fashion plates.

Our Indian collection is remarkable, with over 700 manuscripts, albums and single-page paintings. This includes splendid artwork made for the Mughal emperors, and for many other courts and centres throughout the subcontinent.

The Chester Beatty holds a world-renowned collection of manuscripts from Iran. Covering many topics of religion, literature, history and science, these works also trace an extraordinary history of the arts of the book, through fine calligraphy, narrative paintings, illuminated designs, and bookbinding.

The Japanese collection at the Chester Beatty comprises some 1800 works dating mostly to the Edo period. The collection includes paintings, manuscripts, prints and printed books as well as smaller decorative arts . Highlights include significant collections of privately-commissioned prints and hand-painted illustrated handscrolls of popular tales.

I was really impressed with the collection and the building itself. The exhibitions are not very big but the library is worth a visit.

The Chester Beatty Library is located next to the Dublin Castle so you can see lovely view from its windows. And not to forget that the entry is free.

Stay tuned and don’t stop travelling!

Author: marinelapetrunova

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