Added on 02/07/2012
One of the more unusual and artistic pieces in the Church of Ireland Representative Church Body Library’s collections is featured in the online presentation for July’s Archive of the Month. This is an illuminated address presented to the outgoing rector of St Stephen’s Church, Dublin, the Revd James H. Walsh, by his parishioners to mark his appointment as dean of Christ Church Dublin, in 1908.
Following a connection of almost 40 years in 1908, it was with great regret that the select vestry and parishioners of St Stephen’s learned of Canon Walsh’s promotion as dean of the diocesan cathedral. The vestry minutes of the 6 January 1908 record that his appointment as dean of Christ Church would involve ‘his resignation as rector of St Stephen’s parish’. At the same meeting (after Walsh had retired the chair and left room) the vestry members unanimously resolved to present a suitable gift ‘to express their grateful sense of the valuable services which he has rendered to the parish’.
This was duly done and considerable sums were raised enabling the parish to commission James McConnell, an internationally–renowned master of heraldic art and illumination, (who ran a successful heraldic studio from the family home at 48 Sackville Street and was also commissioned for official heraldic work by the Office of Arms in Dublin Castle – attesting to his skill) to produce an original piece of artwork to mark Walsh’s long ministerial service for the parish.
The illuminated address was presented in book form, and has been digitized for the first time to bring its contents to a worldwide audience. Now catalogued as RCB Library MS 200, it measures 350×380mm, and consists of five folios all beautifully hand–painted and illustrated with such features as the coats of arms of the Walsh family and diocese of Dublin, as well as miniature watercolour paintings of the interior and exterior of one of Dublin city’s most famous buildings – the ‘pepper cannister’ or ‘pepper pot’ church in Mount Street. To view the illuminated address, visit: www.ireland.anglican.org/library/archive
For further information please contact:
Dr Susan Hood