The Book of Kells

This is a handwritten ~ bound ~ copy of the Four Gospels ~ famed for the numerous designs adjacent to and incorporated with the script ~ known as illuminations. These pictures show one of the first pages, and a sample of the text. The main opportunity for illuminating is the first letter of a passage of text. Each of the beatitudes lower picture ~ starts with an illuminated capital letter. An additional decorative bar has been added to the left hand margin.

The book of Kells
The Book of Kells ~ Folio 32 v ~ Christ Enthroned

The book of Kells
The Book of Kells ~ The Beatitudes

The book of Kells
The Book of Kells ~ The Chi Rho Page ~
Compare this with the ChiRho page of the Lindisfarne Gospels [112042]

The 'book' is held in the custody of Trinity College, Dublin University, in Ireland. It has been trimmed and re-bound several times since it was first written in around 800. It is now bound into four volumes, and a permanent exhibition in the University normally has two pages open for public viewing (behind security measures). It had a million visitors in 2019.

There are currently 340 folios, each of size 255x330m. It is believed that some 30 other folios were orignally prepared for it. It is believed to have originated in Iona ~ off the coast of Scotland ~ from where the Columban monks fled to Kells ~ in County Meath ~ Ireland ~ to avoid further attacks from marauding Vikings.

There is a wealth of information and publication available on the book of Kells, which I have not seen. These notes are aimed to be an introduction for those interested in pursuing their interest further ~ symbolism ~ early religion ~ calligraphy ~ history ~ pigment ~ page layout and design ~ binding ~ conservation ~ display ~ Celtic imagery and knotwork ~ iconography .The illustrations are taken from the many available on the WWW, and I hope that they are available in the public domain, sufficient for me to use them witout specific acknowledgement here.

For those interested in other precious books I have notes ~

~ St Cuthbert's Gospel [117143]

~ The Great Omar [115032]

~ The Lindisfarne Gospels [112042] ~ these are of a similar date to the Book of Kells, but with differences of style.


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