One of many American born honorary Irish citizen
American-born mining magnate, Chester Beatty, was naturalised in the UK, knighted by the Queen Elizabeth II and appointed as an honorary Irish citizen. The millions he made in copper allowed him to pursue his passion for ancient manuscripts and Asian art. By the time he was in his 70s, he had amassed enough rare art and manuscripts to rival the holdings of a full-on museum. He bequeathed the Chester Beatty Library to Dublin in 1956.
The Chester Beatty Library is located in Dublin’s Clock Tower Building. Admission is free in spite of the fact that it houses one of the finest collections of art and ancient manuscripts on the continent. The exhibits are divided into the East Asian, Islamic and Western collections:
The East Asian Collections
These collections are representative of the type of collecting Beatty did in his early years. It’s relatively small compared to the other collections, and it contains Chinese manuscripts, works of art and decorative furnishings – most of which were collected before 1920.
The Islamic Collections
Many experts consider Beatty’s Islamic Collections to be among the finest in the world. The manuscripts span the 8th to 20th centuries and include some of the most important documents of Islamic art and culture in the world. The illuminated Islamic texts are a particular highlight.
The Western Collections
Among these collections, you’ll find everything from millennia-old cuneiform tablets to thousands of Old Master prints and drawings. Illuminated manuscripts join early papyri fragments – including the second-oldest such fragment known to be in existence – to create one of the finest collections of Western art and authorship that a private collector has ever amassed.
Photo credit: CharlieCLC