Posts Tagged ‘ Chester Beatty Library ’

Post-New Year’s Culture Vulturing: Looking Ahead In 2014


I know that we can find it a little hard to find inspiration to cope with January’s chills, but I’m trying for a brighter glow by looking ahead to cultural goings-on in early 2014. To begin with, I picked up a couple of event brochures from the National Gallery of Ireland and another one from the Chester Beatty Library plopped though my letterbox recently.

To take the latter venue first, the major exhibition of French fashion illustrations, Costumes Parisiens: Fashion Plates from 1912-1914 (mentioned previously) will continue to run until 30 March 2014. In conjunction with this exhibition, as part of the free talks programme there will be three fashion themed Thursday lunchtime (1.10pm) talks. The first one is by Irish costume designer Joan Bergin and is entitled ‘The Thrills and Spills of Costume Design for Film’ on 30 January. Deirdre McQuillan of the Irish Times follows this up on 6 February will a talk about the fact and fiction of the Arran sweater. As a child, I loved the Arran patterned sweater that my nan knitted for me so I will certainly try to get along to that talk. It might even inspire me to get knitting again and that really would be a New Year achievement. Continue reading


Dressed to Impress : French Fashion at the Chester Beatty Library


I have been once more touring the cultural hotspots in Dublin; putting myself through the hard grind of visiting exhibitions so that I can pass the results on to Irish News Review readers. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it; that’s what I tell myself anyway. However, as soon as I read Chester Beatty Library’s autumn programme, I have been looking forward to seeing the French fashion prints. I could try to claim that I have been visiting the Costumes Parisiens exhibition in an entirely selfless spirit, but I confess that just wouldn’t be true.

The bulk of the Costumes Parisiens display consists of over 100 fashion plates (I did try to keep a tally, but kept losing count) from the French fashion magazine, Journal des Dames et des Modes (1912 – 1914). Italian writer Tom Antongini (1877-1967) set up the journal in June 1912 and went on to publish three issues a month until the outbreak of the First World War. Antongini invited well-known artists and designers of the day, such as Léon Bakst and George Barbier to illustrate the periodical and so the Journal des Dames became much prized for its high quality illustrations. The fashion plates were made using a process requiring a great deal of skill, which involved the use of stencils (pochoir) to create the coloured parts of the scene.  Many years later, the colours and lines of the illustrations of fashionably clothed women are still exquisite.   Continue reading

City of Words: a literary tour of Dublin

I was looking around for rainy day ideas recently (just in case we should have a wet summer, perish the thought) and I came across a very informative mini-brochure produced by Dublin City of Literature. This is a guide (with a map) to all things literary in the fair city of Dublin and includes a list of statues of well-known literary figures and their locations.

Armed with details about twenty-eight literary hotspots you really have no excuse not to get out and about this summer and explore Dublin’s literary heritage both written and oral. The guide has a map of the city centre so it is easy to plan a walking route. I presume the initiative was aimed at tourists but it is often true that locals do not know what goes on in their own backyard. Now, there is no excuse for ignorance of local events.

So where to go first? Well, you could do worse than go on a literary statue tour to get you into the swing of things. Great photo opportunities too, though I am prepared to admit that dry weather is preferable for this bit. I am sure I am not the only person by a long way to have taken pictures of family and friends sitting next to Patrick Kavanagh on the bank of the Grand Canal. Apart from Kavanagh, there are monuments to Shaw, Goldsmith, Burke, Joyce, Wilde and Behan dotted about the city. Get snapping folks!

The City of Words guide places one of my favourite cultural institutions, Chester Beatty Library at the top of its list. I am sure the attractions are intended to be listed in no particular order but this library is a very good place to begin a literary tour of the city. My reason for saying that, is that the collection at the Chester Beatty Library takes the visitor right back to the early history of the written word in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. From taking in that wider perspective, you can take a mental and physical leap over to see what the National Library of Ireland has to offer. Then go on to visit the Dublin Writers’ Museum to catch up with Yeats, Joyce and Beckett et al to bring you into literary Dublin with a bang.

When you have had enough of studying past famous writers you could always find time to listen to the spoken wordsmiths of the present. Stop off for a storytelling session with Dublin Yarnspinners who meet at the Teachers’ Club in Parnell Square, or catch up with the latest Narrative Arts Group events or try one of the Milk and Cookie story sessions in Temple Bar.

Whatever your literary bent there is sure to be something in and around Dublin to make you think a little. Who knows, you might even get your own literary juices flowing. For more information on the venues and up-coming events, follow the links given to the places mentioned above.

Just remember to take an umbrella along with you…