Saturday 22 November 2014

It's 'Book of Kells' – the coffee table version

John Spain Books Editor

Published 16/11/2012 | 05:00

A MAGNIFICENT new coffee table book guide to the 'Book of Kells' will give everyone the chance of having their own version of the famous masterpiece.

The stunning illustrations in the new book feature more than 80 actual-size reproductions of full pages in the 'Book of Kells', with enlarged details that allow the reader to see the intricacy of decoration in the manuscript itself.

The commercial book is written by Bernard Meehan, keeper of manuscripts (including the Book of Kells) at Trinity College Library, who has been studying the historic manuscript for 30 years.

As well as showing and explaining all the key pages, Dr Meehan's new book is a complete guide to what's in the 'Book of Kells', its history, imagery, the scribes and artists who worked on it, and the production of the manuscript, which remains mysterious.

Dr Meehan's version is a huge coffee table book in a slip case. Despite the €85 price tag, it is likely to be a big seller to people who fancy having their own 'Book of Kells' at home.

The original is one of the great treasures of medieval Europe.

Produced around 800AD, it presents the four Gospels in a rich Celtic style.

Dr Meehan has spent most of his career studying the 'Book of Kells'.

"There are many surviving copies of the four gospels from the Middle Ages but none is so richly decorated, with full pages, half pages, decorated initials, interlinear animals and so on.

"The decoration is mesmerising," he said.

Irish Independent

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