Chester Beatty Library

Chester Beatty Library
Leabharlann Chester Beatty
Location within Central Dublin
Established 1950
Location Ship Street Great, Dublin
Coordinates 53°20′32″N 6°16′03″W / 53.342271°N 6.267480°W / 53.342271; -6.267480
Key holdings Chester Beatty Papyri
Founder Alfred Chester Beatty
Public transit access Dublin City South, Werburgh Street Bus Station

The Chester Beatty Library was established in Dublin, Ireland in 1950, to house the collections of mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty.[1] The present library, on the grounds of Dublin Castle, opened on February 7, 2000, the 125th anniversary of Beatty's birth and was named European Museum of the Year in 2002.[2]

The Library's collections are displayed in two collections: "Sacred Traditions" and "Artistic Traditions". Both displays exhibit manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts from the Islamic, East Asian and Western Collections.[3] The Library is one of the premier sources for scholarship in both the Old and New Testaments and is home to one of the most significant collections of Islamic and Far Eastern artefacts.[4] The museum also offers numerous temporary exhibitions, many of which include works of art on loan from foreign institutions and collections. The museum contains a number of priceless objects, including one of the surviving volumes of the first illustrated Life of the Prophet and the Gospel of Mani believed to be the last remaining artefact from Manichaeism.[5][6]


Western Collections

A 3rd-century Greek papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Luke

The Western Collection houses many illuminated manuscripts, rare books and Old Master prints and drawings. The collection of papyri is one of the most extensive in the world and includes almost the entire corpus of Ancient Egyptian Love Songs.

Islamic Collections

A copy of Dala'il al-Khayrat from the Chester Beatty Library

The Islamic Collection is divided between the Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Qur'an and Mughal-Era Indian Collections. The Arabic text include treaties on religion, history, jurisprudence, medicine, geography, mathematics, astronomy and linguistics. Some of the finest miniatures from imperial Mughal albums, called Muraqqa', are housed in the Chester Beatty Library; with important paintings from the Late Shah Jahan Album and the Minto Album. The albums were the subject of an exhibition and publication by the Islamic curator, Dr. Elaine Wright, Muraqqa': Imperial Albums of the Chester Beatty Library. Often on display is the Ibn al-Bawwab Qur'an, copied by one of the greatest medieval Islamic calligraphers.

East Asian Collections

The East Asian Collection has one of the most extensive collections of carved snuff bottles, many of which were included in the catalogue: The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: Chinese Snuff Bottles. It also has good Japanese arts, including a pair of long picture-scrolls painted in the 17th century by Kanō Sansetsu.[7]

See also


  1. Clare Pollard (2000-09-01). "The Chester Beatty Library and its East Asian Collections". Antiquity. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  2. Brian Lavery (2002-07-17). "Arts Abroad; An Irish Castle for Religious Manuscripts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  3. "Castle is Fitting Home for Beatty Treasures". The Irish Times. 2000-02-03. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  4. Elizabeth Hutcheson (2006-12-03). "Chester Beatty Library: Magnificent Collection of Islamic and Far Eastern Artefacts". Mathaba News Network. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  5. "Priceless Ancient Text Reassembled". BBC News. 2001-07-12. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  6. "Thrilling Messages from a Shared Past". The Irish Times. 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  7. Ireland and Japan cooperate in Preservation of Ancient ArtworksBy Shane McCausland, Curator of the East Asian Collections Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Ireland Embassy in Japan
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Coordinates: 53°20′31″N 6°16′01″W / 53.342°N 6.267°W / 53.342; -6.267

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