The Book of Kells -
a mysterious medieval masterpiece

The Book of Kells was written and painted 1200 years ago by Irish monks. It is the most recognized and most remarkable masterpiece of medieval Celtic art.

Although it’s said that it was begun on the island of Iona, between Scotland and Ireland, its name is derived from the Abbey of Kells, in the Irish Midlands, where it was kept from at least the 9th century to 1541. One theory has it, that portions of the book were made at Kells, after Viking raids on Iona forced the monastery to retreat to the more isolated location.

Pictures from the Book of Kells:

22 great pages 22 great pages enhanced
Full facsimile:
Animal big pics
Animals fantasy
Persons initials
Saints - Evangelists
The Chi-Rho page other celtic art

Featuring 680 pages of lavishly colored and decorated lettering and illustrations,
it is the most elaborate manuscript of its kind to survive from the early Middle Ages. About thirty folios (60 pages) got lost. The book consists of a Latin text of the four Gospels. It was not intended for daily use or study. It is a sacred work of art to appear on the altar on special occasions.

Since 1661 the Book of Kells is being kept in the Old Library (http://www.tcd.ie/Library/oldlib.htm) of the Trinity College in Dublin. The fact that the preservation of medieval manuscripts requires strict conservation measures was not understood in the 19th century and the book suffered from more than only the ravages of time. It suffered, for example, when it was improperly rebound. Even the binder did not recognize that some of the pages varied in size. He cut off some of the gorgeous illumination in order to standardize the size.

Since 1953 the book is displayed under strictly controlled conditions. The pages are turned once every two weeks. In 2002 about 250.000 people visited the Book of Kells.

Facsimile Reproductions

The Faksimile Verlag from Lucerne, Switzerland made an excellent facsimile. It is as close to the original as technically possible. Even the wormholes were cut out exactly of every reproduction.

You can buy this outstanding work at faksimile.ch. The price is 21’500 Swiss Francs (about 14’000 US$).

Two of the world’s greatest joys

We are glad to present you two of the greatest joys in this world.

First: Watch Casablanca in a cinema theatre while nibbling a box of popcorn or licking(/leaking) an ice-cream. We can’t offer you that pleasure as a complete setup. Click to see the two great melodramas, the one where Rick play's it again and then the farewell at the airport.
http://www.vincasa.com/indexclipsc.html If you do not get it here, search www.google.com for casablanca clip.

The second: Look at the Chi-Rho page of the Book of Kells, while you hear James Joyce reading a passage from "Finnegans Wake", which you can do on this page. ("this page" -> http://www.finneganswake.org/



Buy the Book of Kells CD-ROM, includes all 680 pages: http://www.bookofkells.ie/

About Illustration and Illumination - "The Book of Kells":


James Joyce