Joyce death mask on display in Limerick museum

Thu, Jun 21, 2012, 01:00

A DEATH mask of James Joyce – made two days after his death in 1941 – has gone on display for the first time as part of a commemorative display marking this year’s Bloomsday celebrations.

The mask, made of Dublin silver, will be on display at the Hunt Museum in Limerick city until June 30th.

According to museum administrator and carer of collections and exhibits Naomi O’Nolan, the mask had been in storage at the museum for the past 12 years.

“We were given the mask on a long-term loan from a private collection held by the late Dr Tony Ryan’s company, Debis Airfinance,” Ms O’Nolan said.

“It was given to the museum 12 years ago and we’ve had it in storage since then. I thought it would make a fantastic centrepiece for a display to commemorate this year’s Bloomsday celebrations.”

The mask, which is one of only two originals made by Swiss sculptor Paul Speck, forms the centrepiece of the Joyce display that is complemented by a 1927 antique edition of Ulysses and a collector’s edition of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Ms O’Nolan said she hoped people would visit the museum to view the mask as it will be put back into storage at the end of the month.

“I would encourage anyone to come and look at it. It’s a fantastic piece, made from beautiful Irish silver.”

Joyce’s works have influenced the arts worldwide. He is known as one of the most celebrated and recognised avant-garde writers in the history of modernist literature.

Bloomsday – derived from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Joyce’s famous novel Ulysses – is a commemoration and celebration of the life of Joyce observed by fans annually on June 16th all over the world.