Book of Kells

Believed to date from c. 800 AD the Book of Kells (Gaelic – Leabhar Cheanannais) and sometimes known as the Book of Columba is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. Created by Celtic monks ca. 800 the text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina.

Widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure the Book of Kells is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. Its illustrations, ornamentation and decoration of humans, animals, mythical beasts, Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Insular art and surpass that of all other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity.

Comprising 340 folios its leaves are on high-quality calf vellum its Insular majuscule script of the text itself is believed to be the work of at least three different scribes and since 1953 it has been bound in four separate volumes. Taking its name from the Abbey of Kells (Co. Meath), its home for many centuries the manuscript is today housed and permanently displayed at Trinity College Library, Dublin.

As part of his work on ancient European manuscripts in the late 1860′s Rev. James Henthorn Todd, D.D. F.S.A. (at the time Senior Fellow and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Trinity College) reproduced certain extracts and text from the Book of Kells, including an exact facsimile of the beautiful monogram of St. Matthew (Cap. I. 18) – featuring the words “CHRISTI AUTEM GENERATIO”.

Having acquired an original copy of Rev. Dodd’s published work “Descriptive Remarks on Illuminations in Certain Ancient Irish Manuscripts (Printed in London in 1869) Olde Ireland are now delighted to provide everyone with duplicates of this extraordinary work – beautifully reproduced on archival cotton canvas – with a guaranteed non-fade life span of at least 100 years. Utilising the world’s highest quality archival inks and printed ‘one to one’ (of its original size) this reproduction is accompanied by a 12-page reproduction of Rev. Todds ‘descriptive remarks’ PLUS an 8-page booklet on the history of the Book of Kells.

For further information, please contact us.

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