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Saturday 23 September 2017

A very different portrait of the artist

David Raleigh

AN extraordinary death mask of James Joyce has gone on display for the first time as part of a commemorative display marking this year's Bloomsday celebrations.

The mask, made of pure Dublin silver, was made two days after the author's death in 1941 -- and will be on display at the Hunt Museum in Limerick City until June 30.

According to the museum's 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," 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," Ms O'Nolan said.

The mask is one of only two originals made by Swiss sculptor Paul Speck.

It forms the centrepiece of the Joyce display which also includes a 1927 antique edition of 'Ulysses' and a collector's edition of 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'.

Ms 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, it's made from beautiful Irish silver."

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

Irish Independent

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