The Rubens Engravings of the Life of St Ignatius
Editor: Jan Graffius
Introduction and commentary by Fr Billy Hewett SJ
ISBN 0-9512664-3-8

116 pages, quarto size hard-back, quarter bound in leather and linen, illustrated with one colour and 29 b/w half-tones. Limited numbered edition of 350 copies, of which there are a few remaining at £25.

To see inside this book please click HERE.

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For about the last hundred and fifty years there has existed in the libraries at Stonyhurst a battered metal sea chest, painted black, with the inscription ‘Strickland HMS Calcutta 1840’ on its lid. Inside, on the occasional times the chest was opened, the curious searcher would have found 80 copper plates, neatly wrapped in copies of the Church Times dating from the nineteenth century. There must have always been a temptation to experiment with these plates, to get them back on press and take a few pulls; and however amateur the effort the result was always sure to have been quite striking: for a significant number are engravings designed by Rubens, illustrating the life of St Ignatius of Loyola. The purpose of the engravings was to illustrate a book, the Vita Beati P. Ignatii Loiolæ, published in 1609 on the occasion of the beatification of St Ignatius, and intended to promote the cause of his canonisation.

Prompted by Dr Janet Graffius, curator at Stonyhurst, St Omers Press investigated the possibility of printing a small edition of the engravings direct from the original copper-plates. This was done, and this limited edition book was published to mark the occasion. The book features all the plates we chose to reproduce together with the text originally accompanying those plates, translated from the Latin by Fr Joe Munitiz SJ. The book is introduced by Fr Billy Hewett SJ, who also wrote a commentary and short prayer to accompany each plate. Further sections of the book include St Ignatius’ Autobiography reproduced in full, and two essays, one by Dr Janet Graffius on the art historical background to the plates and their links with Rubens, and the other by Christopher Bacon describing the conservation methodology used in printing from the original copper-plates.

Additional information

Weight 0.730 kg
Dimensions 28.5 × 21.5 × 1.9 cm
Limited Edition

350 copies printed.