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Book of Kells, f 34r

Book of Kells, folio 34r containing the Chi Rho monogram

Dear friends,

I am forwarding a blog I wrote on 18 November 2011.  It is about the Book of Kells, a Gospel Book.  In order to read it you need simply click on the link below.  In order to see the entire book, please click on the link that will take you to Trinity College Library, in Dublin.  The Book of Kells is also called the Book of Columba, which means the Book of the Dove and is the name of a beatified monk, St Columba.  The calligraphy is magnificent.  It is one of the great masterpieces of Western art, and Irish.

You are now familiar with illuminated manuscripts.  However I have provided more information.

The Book of Kells

To see all illuminations go to Book of Kells (Trinity College Library, Dublin) or to explore Irish illuminations, click on Irish.
One may also view the Book of Kells here:


Its Irish name is Leabhar Cheanannais
It is a Gospel book
It was made in the early part of the 9th century (c. 800)
It was made by Celtic monks
It is an illuminated manuscript
It is a masterpiece of Western Calligraphy
It is the finest example of Insular Art (See also: Hiberno-Scottish Mission and Anglo-Saxon Mission)
(See Insular Script [majuscule])
Most Insular Art originates in Irish Monasticism
Work on the manuscript was interrupted by Viking raids
The manuscript comprises 340 folios (pages)
It has been bound in four volumes since 1953
The parchment used was vellum (calfskin), the best
The font is Vetus Latina or Vetus Itala (Old Italic)
The ink is Iron Gall Ink
It was kept at the Abbey of Kells (forty miles from Dublin) until 1650
The Manuscript is housed at Dublin’s Trinity College Library, MS A. I. (58)
It resembles the Lindisfarne Gospels 
(please click on the smaller images to enlarge them) 
The Book of Kells, (folio 292r), circa 800, showing the lavishly decorated text that opens the Gospel of John.

The Book of Kells, (folio 292r), circa 800, showing the lavishly decorated text that opens the Gospel of John.

sv_bok_16_big© Micheline Walker
17 March 2013