[Sir] Edward Sullivan

Quotations

Life
1822-1885 [Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart. of Garryduff; not to be confused with Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart., of Denton]; ed.. TCD; co-ed., Kottabos, A College Miscellany, series I Vol. 1-3, new series Vol. 1-2 (Dublin 1869-95); later edited a colour facsimile of The Book of Kells (1914; 3rd Edn. 1920), with an introduction that Joyce co-opted as one of the basic parody-texts of Finnegans Wake; also issued Decorative Bookbinding in Ireland [as Opusculum LXVII in Ye Sette of Odde Volumes] (London 1914). ODNB

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Works
ed. Buck Whaley’s Memoirs (1906); ed., Book of Kells described by Sir Edward Sullivan ... illustrated with 24 plates [&c.] (London: The Studio 1914) [see details]; ed., with R. Y. Tyrrell, Echoes from Kottabos (Grant Richards: London 1906).

The Book of Kells / Described by Sir Edward Sullivan, with 24 colour reprod. from the original pages (London & N.Y.: Studio Publications, 1914), iii-v, ill. [24 lvs. col. pls.], 34x26cm.; and Do. [2nd edn.] (London: The Studio Ltd. 1920), vii, 48pp., ill. [xxiv pls.]); Do. (London: Studio 1924, 1925 [3rd Edn.] 1927), viii [xvi], 48pp. ill, [xxiv mounted col. pl., 29cm.; and Do. [another edn.], Foreword by J. H. Holden [5th edn.] (London: Studio 1952), xvii, 18-108pp, ill. [23 pls.; col. facs.; 29cm.], and Do. [another edn.] (Studio 1955), 111pp., ill., 4° [30cm.];

Reprints
  • The Book of Kells / described by Sir Edward Sullivan, bart., with additional commentary from An enquiry into the art of the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages by Johan Adolf Bruun. [rep. of 2nd edn.] (London: Studio Editions 1986), xiv, 138pp., ill. [24 col. plates; Each plate accompanied by leaf with descriptive letterpress; 29 cm.]
  • The Book of Kells [identical to above; facs. rep. of 2nd edn., 1920; styled 3rd edn.] (London: Bracken Books 1988), xiv, 138pp., ill. [24 lvs. of plates; 28cm.; t.p. verso: ‘This is a facsimile reprint of The Book of Kells, second edition, originally published by The Studio Ltd., 1920, with additional material [...]’]

 

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Quotations
The Book of Kells (Studio 1920) - Introduction [on Zoomorphic decoration]: ‘No account that might be written of the zoomorphic, or animal, forms introduced in the decoration of the Manuscript could convey any impression of a more effective kind than that given by the plates themselves. At the same time it is well to bear in mind that the true explanation of their unnatural drawing is not to be attributed to the incapacity of the artist. Such deviations from nature as they exhibit are due more [41] or less to the same causes that led to the eccentricities attaching to the human figures represented: in other words, there never was any intention on the artist’s part to depict these animal forms in their natural shapes. Whatever they happen to be, fish, peacock, horse, dog, hare, otter, cat, rat, cock, lizard, serpent, or dragon, they are all in a sense creatures of a world apart, strongly marked with the deliberate unreality of ecclesiastical heraldry; distant relations, as it were, of the lion, the calf, and the eagle, of the Evangelical symbols, and forced into disnatured anatomies and fantastic posturings only to serve the purposes of the artist, and fall in with the general decorative scheme of which they form a symmetrical part. In this way only, according to the tenets of the early Irish School of illumination, could artistic harmony be preserved; and curious as such living forms may be when contrasted with the more correct and altogether natural pictures of animal life in the Continental manuscripts of a later day, it can at least be said that, as compared with the strange creatures we have been long familiar with in heraldry, the fauna of the Book of Kells are not much more extravagant than the singular creatures that owe their origin to the Heralds’ College.’ (pp.41-42.)

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The Book of Kells (Studio 1920) - Introduction [on the heraldic nature of the figures]: ‘A much simpler explanation would seem to be that all the apparently weird figures of either Saviour, saint or man which meet us in the pages of the Book of Kells, not to mention other manuscripts, of about the same period, are, in reality, what might now be termed heraldic. Their being so gives them at once an artistic as well as a theological value. They are heraldic because no other form of pictorially personified humanity could be made to fit in with the decorative surroundings in which they are enshrined; while the deliberate avoidance of any real resemblance to humanity only intensifies the spirit of reverence for holy things possessed by the illuminators. Independently of such reasons, however, it should not be forgotten that the Eastern Church had from an early date laid down very definite instructions in reference to the representation of holy personages; and undoubtedly such instructions in a pictorial form had reached Ireland from Italy and Southern France at the periods when her school of illumination was in its incipient and its progressive state. These Eastern instructions were long afterwards collected into a book called “The Painter’s Guide,” which was compiled at Mount Athos, in Greece, from the works of Pauselinos, a painter of the eleventh century, a volume which ultimately became the text-book of Byzantine Art. [...] Celtic departures from the formalities prescribed by Eastern authority - and they are frequent - would seem to point to the existence of an early traditional treatment of such matters in Ireland which had been followed for perhaps some centuries before the appearance of the Byzantine “Painter’s Guide.” It is certainly easier to think that the portrait figures of the Book of Kells and similar Irish manuscripts were the direct result of some such local tradition than to assume that the gifted illuminators of the marvellously-drawn decorative portions of such works were unable to paint the human form, had they wished to do so, in a more natural way than they have done.’

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References
Dictionary of National Biography
: Sir Edward Sullivan, 1822-1885; first bart., Lord Chancellor of Ireland, mainstay of the English govt.; poss. the father of Sir Edward; b. Mallow, Co. Cork; leading counsel with James Whiteside in Barry Yelverton trial; Attorney General in 1868; Lord Chancellor in 1883; ‘it was mainly at his instance that the important step of arresting Charles Stewart Parnell was adopted ..’ (1881). His library was worth 11,000. Bart., of Garryduff; ed. Echoes from Kottabos. SEE also Irish Book Lover, Vol. 6.

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Hyland Books (Cat. 224) lists Book of Kells, with New Preface (3rd edn. 1930), 24 mounted pls. with guards.

University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection, holds Book of Kells (1920).

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Notes
Master book-binder Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart (c.1851-1937), Nicola Gordon Bowe, Wilhelmina Geddes, Harry Clarke and their part in the Arts and Crafts Movement of Ireland, in The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts [DAPA], No. 8 (Miami 1988).

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