The Book of Kells is a lavishly illustrated manuscript book created as a Alter Book sometime between 800 and 900 AD at a monastery in the town of Kells, in Ireland. It is the most lavishly decorated of a series of gospel manuscripts produced between the seventh and ninth centuries, when Irish art and culture flourished at home. The Book of Kells, on the other hand, is a book about the Book of Kells, its content, history, epigraphy, symbolism, production, and overall design.
Having had the opportunity to actually see the original Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin this past summer, I wanted to learn more, and this book is a wonderful guide, thoroughly researched and footnoted, with a variety of full-color illustrations of many of the book's pages. Chapters address the decorative influences, scheme, and purpose, and individual chapters address different decorative themes: animals, the evangelists, Christ & his symbols, and more. Finally there are chapters that address the number of scribes and artists involved in the book's production, how long it took to produce, the amount of vellum used in the book's production, and writing materials and pigments used.
If you like rare books, book decoration and the craft of illuminated manuscripts, this is a must-read.
Anyone else out there had a chance to see the original Book of Kells? Anyone interested in illuminated manuscripts?