Exquisite & Rare

This online version of part of the Exquisite & Rare exhibition held in Marsh's in 2013 showcases books from the library of Benjamin Guinness, 3rd Earl of Iveagh and shines a light on the exquisite workmanship of eighteenth-century Dublin bookbinders.

The first three items show the work of Sir Edward Sullivan, whose publication in 1914 of Decorative Bookbinding in Ireland first brought the magnificence of Irish bookbinding in the eighteenth-century to public attention.

Philip Maddock writes: 'This is not an easy book to find, and it is very impressive that it is one of the very first books that Lord Iveagh acquired for his library at Farmleigh. The author, Sir Edward Sullivan, was a book collector and amateur bookbinder. In fact, Sullivan had his books bound by other people before decorating and finishing the covers himself. It is another mark of Lord Iveagh’s focus on the topic of Irish bookbinding that his collection contains three remarkable bindings decorated by Sullivan himself.'

The exhibition was curated by Philip Maddock, with Jason McElligott, Keeper of Marsh's, and Julia Cummins, librarian at Farmleigh, where the Benjamin Iveagh library is housed and is managed for Marsh's by the Office of Public Works, who manage the house and estate as a whole.