The Royal Asiatic Society, Trinity College, Dublin, and the Chester Beatty Lecture

Further to the information in last week’s blog we are now pleased to give full details of the lecture to be held in Dublin. As part of its continuing bi-centenary celebrations, the Royal Asiatic Society, in conjunction with Trinity College, Dublin, and the Chester Beatty, is delighted to announce that a lecture by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, will be held on the 30th May at 6.30 pm at the Trinity Long Room Hub. Professor Ohlmever will lecture on Making Empire: Ireland and India, based on her 2023 publication, Making Empire: Ireland, Imperialism, and the Early Modern World. The lecture is open to all and we look forward to seeing you there.

Alongside the lecture, Dr. Moya Carey, Curator of Islamic Collections, and Dr. Ai Fukunaga, Curator of East Asian Collections, at the Chester Beatty have generously offered to lead special viewings of the Islamic and the East Asian Collections. The viewings will be preceded by lunch at the museum’s Silk Road Café. followed by the visit to the Collections at 2.30 pm. As places are limited to 15 participants, please contact Dr Alison Ohta if you wish to attend.

The Society is eager to celebrate its long connection with Irish scholars working on Asia and publicise its prizes for students and early career researchers currently studying at Irish universities. The event has been made possible by the generous support offered by Dr. Anna McSweeney of Trinity College, Dublin, and Dr. Moya Carey and Dr. Ai Fukunaga of the Chester Beatty.

The lecture in Dublin is an exciting venture for the Society which has rarely held lectures outside of its premises and even more rarely outside of London. However in cataloguing the institutional archives concerned with lectures and events, I discovered a period in the Society’s history, from 1969-1972, when a concerted effort was made to give lectures in other parts of the country. The evidence for these can be found in the Meeting Cards and Admittance tickets for this period which reveal the following lectures took place:

  • 19 June 1969: John Burton-Page, ‘Iranian, Central Asian and Indigenous Currents in the Arts of the Mughal Courts: A Cultural Synthesis’. This event took place in Manchester. (
  • 21 January 1970: Professor D.M. Lang, ‘Cultures of the Caucasus’. This lecture was held in Edinburgh.
  • 28 May 1970: Dr G. Fehérvári, ‘Persian Lacquer-Painted Books’. This lecture was held in Durham.
  • 16 February 1971: Dr J.S. Cummins, ‘The Pei-T’ang Library in Peking’. This lecture was held in Sheffield.
  • 29 November 1971: Professor E.H.S. Simmonds, ‘The Three Thai capitals, an Historical and Cultural Commentary’. This lecture was held in Canterbury.
  • 18 January 1972: Basil W. Robinson, ‘Persian Miniature Paintings’. This lecture was held in St. Andrews. (

Each of these lectures was held under the auspices of a hosting institution.

As you will see from the images above the lectures were on a wide variety of topics reflecting the diverse research interests of Fellows of the Society at that time period. We hope that the Dublin lecture may also lead to other fruitful collaborations.

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Friday 22 March marks the anniversary of the death of David Samuel Margoliouth, who died on this day in 1940. He was born in London in 1858. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford where he graduated with a Double First and gained a significant number of prizes. He was appointed to the Laudian Chair in Arabic, Oxford University, in 1889, a position he held until he retired, from ill health, in 1937. He wrote many works on the history of Islam and translated and edited Arabic poetry. He was also a keen participant in the life of the Royal Asiatic Society serving as both its President (1934-1937) and its Director (1927-30, 1931-34, 1937-40).

David Samuel Margoliouth, lithograph by unknown artist (RAS 095.002)

He was also awarded the Society’s Triennial Gold Medal in 1928. In the Council Minutes for 14 February 1928, the Medal Committee of Dr Barnett, Sir Stewart Lockhart and Sir Denison Ross were approved by the Council. A report of this Committee’s meeting on 28 February 1928 stated their unanimous selection of Professor Margoliouth to receive the medal and this was accepted by the Council in the meeting on 13 March 1928. In the Minutes for 3 April 1928, it was recorded that the Gold Medal would be presented at the Anniversary Meeting. In 1980 the Society received a letter from Mary Fairs, great niece of D.S. Margoliouth, to inform  that her great-uncle’s Gold Medal had been donated by her to New College, Oxford, where it would be held in their Treasury. So hopefully, that is where it is still safely deposited.

Letter from Mary Fairs to inform of the donation of the Medal

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This will be the last blogpost before the Society closes for the Ester period on Thursday 28 March. We would like too wish you all a very happy Easter and we hope to see many of you through the spring in at our lectures and events.