Bookbindings from the Library of Benjamin Guinness, Earl of Iveagh.
This exhibition was launched on 23 July 2013 by the Hon. Rory Guinness and Mr Jimmy Deenihan, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It closed April 2014 when our new exhibition Imagining Japan, 1570-1750 was put out.
The exhibition shone a light on a lost Dublin craft, and these books are a testament to one man’s labour of love in amassing a collection without equal anywhere in the world. Visitors found it difficult to decide which was the most beautiful of the items on display.
The most important book in the exhibition was surely a copy of the Orations of Demosthenes (1756). The original purchaser of this book paid for his copy to be bound in sumptuous red morocco leather. This covering was then decorated in gold with a super-abundance of shapes including leaves, cornucopias, peacocks and narwhal tusks. This is the eighteenth-century equivalent of ‘bling’.
You can design and draw your own bindings. Take them away with you, or leave it on display with us. Entries left with us will be entered into a monthly competition for the best designs (NB those of you who want to enter and take your entry away with you can ask a member of staff to take a photo of your binding and leave your address with them).
It’s for children and adults!!