The Book of Kells

( 1 )

Overview

The Book of Kells is the most spectacular of a group of manuscripts created in Ireland and northern Britain between the seventh and tenth centuries, a period when Irish monasticism was in the vanguard of Christian culture. Its earliest history remains controversial but it was in the keeping of the monastery of Kells, Co. Meath, for most of the Middle Ages - hence its name - and has been in the library of Trinity College Dublin, since the mid-seventeenth century. It is a masterpiece of medieval art - a brilliantly...
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Overview

The Book of Kells is the most spectacular of a group of manuscripts created in Ireland and northern Britain between the seventh and tenth centuries, a period when Irish monasticism was in the vanguard of Christian culture. Its earliest history remains controversial but it was in the keeping of the monastery of Kells, Co. Meath, for most of the Middle Ages - hence its name - and has been in the library of Trinity College Dublin, since the mid-seventeenth century. It is a masterpiece of medieval art - a brilliantly decorated copy of the four Gospels with full-page illustrations of Christ, the Virgin and Child and the Evangelists, and a wealth of smaller decorative painting that does not always relate to the sacred text. The strange imagination displayed in the pages, the impeccable technique and the very fine state of its preservation make it an object of endless fascination. This edition includes the most important of the fully decorated pages plus a series of enlargements showing the almost unbelievable minuteness of the detail - spiral and interlace patterns, human and animal ornament - a combination of high seriousness and humor. Accompanying the illustrations is a new, up-to-date text by Bernard Meehan, the current Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Dublin. It provides a scholarly analysis of these exuberant inventions, the artists, the text and the writing, and a full account of the historical background to the miraculous world of the Book of Kells.
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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: 237,587
  • 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

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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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