Irish St. Molaise Reliquary

Medieval Irish Masterpieces in Modern Reproduction

  • Type:Campbell Gallery
  • Duration:Temporary

(date) 9/13/2016–4/2/2017

In 1916, the UIUC Museum of European History acquired a remarkable set of high-quality reproductions of major monuments of early Irish metalwork art, including the Tara Brooch, Ardagh Chalice, the Cross of Cong, and the shrine of St. Lachtin’s arm. These superb pieces were part of a larger collection created in very small numbers by the Dublin jeweler Edmond Johnson for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. They are important not only as museum-quality reproductions but also in their own right as specimens of the art of the Celtic Revival and of modern "medievalism."

In this exhibit, many pieces of this collection will be displayed alongside 19th- and 20th-century facsimiles of illuminated Irish vernacular and Latin manuscripts on loan from the UIUC Library—works that have been fundamental to scholarship on medieval Irish studies in the past century and a half.