Research Services

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the Reading Room is currently closed. Please check here for further updates, or contact the Reading Room for further information.

Sharing the Collections and making them accessible is at the heart of our mission. The Chester Beatty is also in the first phase of an exciting new initiative to digitise the entire collection, so that visitors around the world can access the collection online.

Access to the Collections

Researchers are welcome to consult collection objects in our Reading Room, by appointment.

Please complete and submit a Collections Access Request Form at least one month in advance of your proposed visit.

Access to the Collections Request Form

Digital Collections

The Chester Beatty has embarked on a project to digitise the entirety of the museum collections over time. Open access to our growing catalogue of digital collections is available for all online visitors.

While the online collections continue to grow, many collections objects and early printed books have not yet been digitised and are currently available for viewing only in the research library.

Access the Digital Collections

Photography Guidelines

Photography is allowed within the research library under certain conditions. Please see the guidelines for personal photography below.

The Research Library retains the right to prohibit personal photography at the discretion of the library staff

Photography Guidelines

Online Reference Catalogue

The Chester Beatty reference collection comprises over 18,000 volumes which support research into the Chester Beatty Collections, some of which were acquired by Beatty himself. Subject holdings include the Arts of the Book, Buddhism and Buddhist Iconography, Calligraphy, Christianity, East Asian Art, Islam, Islamic Art, Illuminated Manuscripts and Printmaking.

Researchers are welcome to consult the collection, by appointment.
The reference collection is fully searchable online.

Online Reference Catalogue

Online Early Printed Book Catalogue

The Early Printed Book collection comprises c4,000 volumes, including many fine bindings.

Online Early Printed Book Catalogue

Collections Publications for Download

The catalogues and monographs available for download here were published by A. Chester Beatty or for the museum. They represent only a selection of the books published about the Chester Beatty collections. Other published catalogues may be consulted in the museum’s on-site Reading Room. These are historic publications, and may not reflect current scholarship, or the present scope of the collections.

Please note that the file sizes of the PDF catalogue downloads are fairly large, make sure you have enough internet bandwidth to manage the activity.

Collections Publications for Download

Chester Beatty Archive

The Chester Beatty holds a collection of rare and unique objects reflecting artistic achievements within the Islamic, Asian and Western worlds. The collection, acquired throughout the twentieth century, was gifted to the Irish people upon the death of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty in 1968.

Our Strategic Plan outlines our vision to connect collections, cultures and communities by researching, caring for, sharing and promoting the collection; to foster understanding, engagement and curiosity.

The Chester Beatty is committed to developing greater openness and transparency about the history of our collection and to sharing these stories widely.

We are mindful of the ongoing debate in relation to provenance and our ongoing research will continue to carefully explore this area as it relates to our own collection.

As part of this process we have established a Provenance Research Group to examine in greater detail the history of the collection and to gain a greater understanding of its provenance. The archives of Chester Beatty are a valuable resource in this regard.

We will continue to update our exhibitions and displays to reflect present-day conversations around the source of our collection. The Chester Beatty is committed to understanding the history of the collection and exploring any legacy issues based on rigorous research and up-to-date knowledge.

Collections Access Request

The Reading Room

The Reading Room is situated on the first floor of the historic Clock Tower building.

The mahogany bookcases were made by Hicks of Dublin in the 1950s, to store and display fine bindings in the Garden Library at Shrewsbury Road (1954-2000). They now house the reference collection.

The reading room incorporates a Chinese ceiling, believed to be a replica of a ceiling in the Summer Palace of the Chinese Imperial Court, constructed in the 1920s for Beatty’s London home Baroda House.

Access to the Reading Room is strictly by appointment.

Contact us to make an appointment

Photographic Services

The Chester Beatty welcomes requests for high-resolution professional images from our Collection.

The Chester Beatty has thousands of digital images readily available for purchase. In addition our dedicated digitisation team can arrange for new custom photography where necessary.

Photographic services

Contact Us

For further information regarding Research services please contact us using the link below

Contact Research Services

Open today 9:45am - 5:30pm

Monday to Friday 9:45am - 5:30pm
Wednesday 9:45am - 8:00pm
Saturday 9:45am - 5:30pm
Sunday 12:00pm - 5:30pm

Closed Mondays: Nov - Feb
Closed 1 Jan; Good Friday; 24-26 Dec

Admission is Free
No booking required
Suggested donation €5


Chester Beatty
Dublin Castle
Dublin 2
D02 AD92