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A Timely Passion for ‘Printed Things’: Chester Beatty’s Collection of Surimono Prints

Monday, 3 April 2017, 6:30 – 8:30pm

A Timely Passion for ‘Printed Things’: Chester Beatty’s Collection of Surimono Prints

From 3 March to 27 August, the Chester Beatty Library will celebrate the 60th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland with an exhibition of surimono prints from its permanent collections. Privately commissioned by individuals and poetry clubs for exchange at New Year or on other occasions of note, these luxurious prints embody the cultivated taste of the literati circles of Edo Japan. It was the refinement and quality of surimono  (lit: ‘printed things’) that caught the eye of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. When Beatty began to collect Japanese prints in earnest in the mid-1950s, he recognised the unique appeal of surimono. While other collectors were busily fighting over their larger cousins—the better-known and commercially produced ukiyo-e—Beatty was able to amass an impressive collection. Examining the formation of the Library’s collection of surimono and the role played by Beatty’s advisor, Jack Hillier, this lecture considers the place of these prints within the institution Beatty was then establishing.

Mary Redfern was appointed Curator of the East Asian Collections at the Chester Beatty Library in October 2015. Prior to completing her PhD on imperial tableware and diplomatic dining in Meiji-era Japan at the University of East Anglia, she worked as assistant curator for East Asian collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Scotland and Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. Mary curated the Library’s exhibition, ‘The Art of Friendship: Japanese Surimono Prints’, to be displayed from 3 March to 27 August 2017.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Exhibits, Lectures and Seminars, Public, Special events, Student events
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public

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