Death mask of literary genius James Joyce goes on display for the first time

Hunt Museum Limerick James Joyce death mask

Two days after the death of James Joyce in 1941, a death mask of the novelist was made, and now it is on display for the first time to mark this year’s Bloomsday celebrations.

The Hunt Museum in Limerick city will display the piece made of Dublin silver until June 30th.

Naomi O’Nolan who is the administrator and carer for collections and exhibits at the museum says that the piece has been kept in storage 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, speaking to the Irish Times.

“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 centerpiece for a display to commemorate this year’s Bloomsday celebrations.”

Swiss sculptor, Paul Speck made two original masks. This mask forms the centerpiece 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.

The Limerick museum are hoping that people will come to view the special edition piece as it will be put back into storage at the end of the month.

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

James Joyce is known worldwide and his work has influenced many. He is known as one of the most celebrated and recognised writes in literature history.

Bloomsday is a celebration which is enjoyed by Joyce fans all over the world on June 16th. It is derived from Leopold Bloom- the protagonist of Joyce’s epic novel, Ulysses.