[Sir] Alfred Chester Beatty

Life
1875-1968; b. New York City of Irish, Scottish and English extraction; ed. Columbia Univ., grad. Mining Engineering, 1898; made professional start in Colorado; Chief Engineer with Guggenheim Exploration Co., 1903-08; registers Selection Trust in London, 1914; became interested in Arabic MSS on a visit to Egypt; travelled in China and Japan, 1917; took out British citizenship, 1933; served on govt. committees during World War II; settled in Dublin, presenting 93 paintings to the Irish Nation, 1950; opened Chester Beatty Library in his home at 10 Ailesbury Rd., Ballsbridge, to researchers, 1953; presented 143 pieces of Oriental weaponry to the Army Museum at the Curragh; knighted by the Queen, 1954, in which year a library extension was built and opened the public; Beatty made first honorary citizen of Ireland, 1957; other honours incl. DSA, Hon. LLD, and Hon. DSc.; d. in Monaco; the collection removed to Dublin Castle and reopened there in 2000, when it was awarded the title of Irish Museum of the Year; later selected as European Museum of the Year in 2002; the current director is Dr. Michael Ryan.

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Criticism
Charles Horton, Alfred Chester Beatty: From Miner to Bibliophile (Dublin: TownHouse 2003), 48pp.; David Edgar, Treasuring the Word: An Introduction to Biblical Manuscripts in the Chester Beatty Library (Dublin: TownHouse 2003), 48pp.

References
There is a website at www.cbl.ie. Admission is free Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm (May to September) Tues-Fri 10am-5pm (October-April) Saturdays 11am-5pm (all year) Sundays 1pm-5pm (all year) Closed Public Holiday Mondays, Good Friday, 24th, 25th and 26th December, 1st Jan Free public tours are available on Wednesdays at 1pm and on Sundays at 3pm and 4pm. Other times by prior arrangement. In addition to the items on display from its permanent collection, the Library mounts special temporary exhibitions. It also runs an event-filled public programme which includes lectures, workshops and demonstrations. Facilities include: Restaurant, Gift and Book Shop, Audio-visual presentations, Roof Garden, wheelchair access, baby-changing facilities. [See also Library information, infra.]

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Notes
Hard times: The Chester Beatty Library was at the centre of an art-world scandal in the 1990s when the then curator purloined and sold oriental incunabula, ultimately leading in prosecution and sentencing in Dublin.

Library information: Situated in the heart of the city centre [...] the Chester Beatty Library's exhibitions open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. The Library's rich collection of manuscripts, prints, icons, miniature paintings, early printed books and objets d’art from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast - all the collecting activities of one man. / Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur’an [Koran], the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the highlights of the collection. Turkish and Persian miniatures and striking Buddhist paintings are also on display, as are Chinese dragon robes and Japanese woodblock prints. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day. [...]

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