The Book of Kells

( 1 )

Overview

A new book by the Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Library that represents the glories of the Book of Kells for today’s readers, revealing the astounding detail and richness of one of the greatest treasures of medieval Europe.
One of the most remarkable manuscripts to survive from the early Middle Ages in Europe, the Book of Kells was probably painted around 800 in a monastery at Iona in Scotland or Kells in Ireland, or perhaps in both places. Extraordinarily inventive ...

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Overview

A new book by the Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Library that represents the glories of the Book of Kells for today’s readers, revealing the astounding detail and richness of one of the greatest treasures of medieval Europe.
One of the most remarkable manuscripts to survive from the early Middle Ages in Europe, the Book of Kells was probably painted around 800 in a monastery at Iona in Scotland or Kells in Ireland, or perhaps in both places. Extraordinarily inventive and intricate imagery accompanies the texts of the four Gospels: full-page depictions of Evangelists and their symbols, lavish honorific openings to the Gospels, extraordinary initials, and decoration that combines complex interlace, animals, and human figures. This newly photographed book explores the Book of Kells through its historical background; a display of the elements of the book at their actual size; the spectacular openings of the texts that precede the Gospels; a study of earlier and comparable manuscripts; detailed examination of symbols and themes, with special enlarged details; a look at the scribes and artists who worked on the manuscript; and a consideration of technical aspects, illuminated by recent scientific research. The rich illustrations feature more than fifty full-size reproductions of complete pages of the manuscript plus enlarged details that allow one to relish the intricacy of elements barely visible to the naked eye. Supplementary images place the manuscript in its setting and provide comparisons for its iconography and style.

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Editorial Reviews

NY Daily News Book Blog
“This new British edition is a fantastic recreation of the tome that sits in repose at the library in Dublin’s Trinity College.”
Antiques and the Arts Weekly
“Sheds much light on this treasured book and raises many more questions.”
Grand Rapids Press
“A fine introduction to this extraordinarily beautiful work.”
Library Journal
This is essentially a scholarly introduction to the Book of Kells, the ancient illuminated manuscript of the gospels housed at Trinity College in Dublin. The text is laced with 117 mostly color photographs of the book's beautifully illustrated pages. For religious and art collections.
Patricia Monaghan
For the fiscally conservative library, this fine, small book is an ideal substitute for the recent $18,000 facsimile of Ireland's renowned Book of Kells, the most famous of all illuminated medieval Gospels. This representation might not include all 680 illuminated pages, but it does offer 110 color illustrations, including dozens of enlargements, that permit the reader to ponder the excruciatingly complex ornamentation which makes the Book a masterpiece of Celtic interlacing. Meehan, keeper of manuscripts at Trinity College Dublin, which has housed the Book since the seventeenth century, provides erudite but direct commentary about the Book's background, its motifs and themes, and even the material from which it is constructed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500238943
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 11/15/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 210,970
  • Product dimensions: 13.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Meehan is Head of Research Collections and Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Library, Dublin,
owners of the Book of Kells.

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Table of Contents

The Book and its background 9
Decorative influences and parallels 17
The scheme of decoration 22
The purpose of the decoration 29
Decorative themes: the book and the cross 30
Angels 34
The evangelists and their symbols 36
Eucharistic symbolism 44
Christ and his symbols: fish, snake and lion 50
The peacock and the dove 57
Illustrative features in the minor decoration 66
Human figures and activities 68
Minor animal decoration 74
Scribes and artists 78
How long did it take to produce? 85
Vellum 85
Writing materials and pigments 86
Conclusion: 'The secrets of the artistry' 89
Appendix I: Historical Background 90
Appendix II: Losses, additions and Marginalla 92
Notes 93
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    Highly recommended for anyone interested in manuscript art

    I bought the book as a companion to my copy of Color Your own Book of Kells from Dover Publications. It not only contained the pictures, but there were many full size pictures suitable for framing. There are also many pictures of details. The book would be ideal for anyone interested in illuminated manuscripts and the period.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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