During the second day of the Royal Visit to Dublin, His Royal Highness The Prince David Bagrationi Mukhran Batonishvili, Head of the Royal House of Georgia, visited the Chester Beatty Library in the beautiful Dublin Castle.

His Royal Highness and his entourage, made up of The Duke of San Jorge, The Marquis of Ferris, The Count of Boluda, The Baron de Giorgio, His Excellency Dr. the Chevalier James O’Higgins Norman, Mr. Patrick Downes The Baron McClafferty and Irish Army officer Mr. Ian Galloway, were received by the Chester Beatty Library Curator, Dr. Jill Unkel.

The Chester Beatty Library is a magnificent collection of manuscripts and works of art, established in Dublin in 1950, to house the collections of mining magnate Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The library was named the European Museum of the Year in 2002.

The “sacred traditions” collection contains many rare and beautiful manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings and rare books and some decorative arts from Western and Eastern collections. The Chester Beatty Library is notable as it is one of the premier sources of scholarship in both the Old and New Testaments.

His Royal Highness appeared moved and touched by several very early Greek papyrus manuscripts of Christian scripture, including a 3rd century extract from the Gospel of St. Luke, and other sacred documents. The Prince David looked at the documents with veneration and devotedly visited the icons on display in the collection.

The Prince David was then shown into the Library’s private area which is used for study and research and shown two rare copies of books in the Georgian language, commissioned by The Most High King Taimuraz I (Taimuraz Khan), King of Kartli and Kakheti, for Pope Urban VIII in Rome, printed in 1629. His Royal Highness’s delight at being able to see and read the volumes was clearly in view, and he asked that various photographs of the books on display be taken, to be shown to His Holiness the Patriarch of Georgia.

His Royal Highness warmly thanked Mr. Patrick Downes for having taken the trouble to personally research what Georgian volumes there were in Dublin-based collections, and thanked all those involved in the Visit for making it so personal and interesting to him.

Following the visit to the Chester Beatty Library, The Prince David proceeded to a visit to the National Gallery of Ireland nearby. The National Gallery of Ireland’s collection includes 14,000 artworks, including 2,500 oil paintings, 5,000 drawings, 5,000 prints and some sculpture, furniture and other works of art.

His Royal Highness and his retinue were received at the Gallery’s entrance on Clare Street by Mr. Adrian Le Harivel, Curator of the National Gallery of Ireland and Sir David O’Grady Roche, 5th Baronet of Carass in Limerick. Sir David is the Deputy Chairman of the Standing Council of the Baronetage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

His Royal Highness was taken to view a beautiful collection of icons from Georgia. The beautiful icons on display were donated to the Gallery by William Edward David Allen, a British scholar, Foreign Service officer, politician and businessman, best known as a historian of the South Caucasus.

W.E.D. Allen was the author of many historical works, including: A history of the Georgian people (1932), The Russian Military Campaigns of 1941-1943 (part 1, 1943), The Russian Military Campaigns 1943-1945 (part 2, 1946), Caucasian Battlefields: A History of the Wars on the Turko-Caucasian Border 1828-1921, Russian Embassies to the Georgian Kings: 1589-1605 (1970)

Mr. Allen was thirdly married to Madame Nathalie Maximovna, a Georgian lady who increased his interest in the Georgian nation and its people, at the time annexed as part of the Soviet Union. Amongst the more interesting works was the icon depicting Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, in the original Georgian tradition.

His Royal Highness thanked the Board of the National Gallery for making this visit to the collection, personal and special to him, and thanked the Curator for the Gallery’s continued good work and was impressed by the number of items in the large collection.

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