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This collection of engravings is of unique historical and artistic value, as well as being of particular interest to the Stonyhurst and Jesuit community. They come from the Vita Beati P. Ignatii Loiolæ, first published in Rome in 1609, on the occasion of Ignatius’s beatification; the book marked the half-way point in the campaign by the Society of Jesus for the canonisation of its founder. It tells the remarkable story of Ignatius' spiritual journey, seen through the eyes of one of Europe's greatest artists. The original book comprises 79 engravings illustrating Ignatius’s life and work, designed both to inspire the reader by his example and to promote his candidature for sainthood. The book is visual in its approach, and the artistic quality of many of the scenes justifies the traditional attribution to Rubens.
This edition is made up of scenes selected for their particular significance to St Ignatius’s life; they all also reflect the inspiration and qualities of Rubens, dynamically articulating figures, landscapes and groups within the compact format of the original book. The Main Edition will comprise the 12 prints illustrated on this page. The Subscribers' Edition will contain eight additional prints, making a total of 20. The extra prints comprise the frontispiece and a portrait of Ignatius from the book and six other scenes of significance in terms of artistic qualtiy or Ignatius's life. In printing terms this edition is unique because the original copperplates, preserved at Stonyhurst College, are being used: only the third time they have been ‘on press’, following the first edition of 1609 and the reprint in 1622 celebrating St Ignatius’s canonisation. The edition is limited to a maximum of 240 sets and will not be repeated.
The engravings will be presented in a portfolio accompanied by a book of 112 pages. This will include an introduction by Fr Billy Hewett SJ, placing the prints in an Ignatian context, and accompanying each scene with a prayer. St Ignatius' Autobiography, dictated by him to Luis Gonçalves da Camara SJ, will be reproduced in full. Jan Graffius, Curator at Stonyhurst, will contribute a piece on the historical and artistic background; and Christopher Bacon, of The Bewick Studios (who are printing the engravings), will contribute a technical note on the printing process and the conservation issues involved in handling 400 year-old copperplates.
The engravings, which measure approximately 6" x 4" / 152mm x 102mm, are being printed on Fabriano Artistico deckle edged sheets measuring 15" x 11" / 380mm x 280mm.
For further information on the 1609 Life of St Ignatius, follow these links:
The edition is split into two sets, with a very limited number of the Subscribers' Edition still available:
The Subscribers’ Edition (£750)
The Main Edition (£400)
Please address all queries to:
Anthony Eyre, St Omers Press, 3-9 Cripps Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 1HN.