Curating ‘Journeys of Belief and Belonging: Modern Irish Pilgrimage’

The River-side welcomes this guest post from Dr Richard Scriven, Dept. of Geography on his experience curating the exhibition ‘Journeys of Belief and Belonging: Modern Irish Pilgrimage’  as part of his Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship.  To listen to Richard discuss the exhibition on Shush! Sounds from UCC Library click here.

 

The exhibition ‘Journeys of Belief and Belonging: Modern Irish Pilgrimage’ was part of my Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship run in conjunction with UCC Library. Initial contact was made with the Library in October 2015 as I was preparing my application to the IRC fellowship scheme, and after securing the funding grant planning and preparation began in September 2016 for an April 2017 launch. The curation process was a very worthwhile and beneficial collaborative project, which equipped me with new skills and experiences.

 

Exhibition Proposal

Inspired by other exhibitions in the UCC Library, including the ‘Sir Henrys@UCC Library’ and the ‘Dante Alighieri Inferno: A Suite of Lithographs’ projects, I planned for the inclusion of an exhibition as part of the public engagement programme in my postdoctoral fellowship. Community engagement is about researchers communicating their work not only to others in their field – usually through peer-reviewed journal articles and conference presentations – but also to a broader range of audiences. The exhibition, based on my doctoral research into pilgrimage in Ireland, aimed to inform and educate the public about the role of pilgrimage, while also highlighting the importance of socially and culturally relevant research. Once UCC Library had agreed, in principle, to host the exhibition, it became a major pillar of my proposal and contributed to my successfully achieving the competitive grant.

 

Planning

Early in my fellowship I met with Crónán Ó Doibhlin (Head of Research Collections and Communications, UCC Library) and Elaine Harrington (Assistant Librarian, Special Collections) to discuss the process, including:

  • Provisional timeline for project
  • Collaborative approach
  • Budget (co-funded by the Irish Research Council and the UCC Library)
  • Format (a combination of a series of storyboards and material selected from the library’s collections to be exhibited in display cases)
  • Exhibition space and possible layouts of storyboards and display cases.

Both Crónán and Elaine had expertise in supporting the curation process based on their work on successive exhibitions based in the UCC Library in recent years. Also, previous exhibitions, as well as ‘Cervantes “Prince of Wits” (1616-2016): Life, Work Legacy’ which was running at the time, served as good examples to guide our conversation. In addition, they have a well-established relationship with Optima Signs (Little Island) who have designed, produced, and installed storyboards for previous exhibitions.

 

Collating the Storyboards

The storyboards were populated by text and images from my research on pilgrimage in modern Ireland. Within the postdoctoral fellowship, the aim of the exhibition was to highlight the significant role pilgrimage still plays in the emotional and spiritual lives of thousands of individuals and in the social life of communities. Evocative photographs were chosen from those taken during my ethnographic fieldwork at some of Ireland’s main pilgrimage sites, Lough Derg, Co Dongeal; Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo; Knock, Co. Mayo; and, holy wells in Munster. Commentary provided a contextual understanding, highlighting the role of pilgrimage and how it is being studied in geography and in the social sciences more generally. Quotations from people interviewed during the research added personal stories revealing how pilgrimage is a rich spiritual and emotional journey for many. Implicit in writing up the text was the need to frame my message for a general audience, ensuring that the ideas being discussed could reach a broad range of people. The use of my own images and text greatly facilitated the process as it can be a challenge to source images from other sources, and the associated copyrights.

This photo was used on the ‘Croagh Patrick’ storyboard.

 

Selection of Library Materials

Several texts from UCC Library’s collection accompanied the storyboards in display cases, furthering the link between research on pilgrimage and the role of the library as a support mechanism. In coordination with Elaine, I chose a number of titles from Special Collections to illustrate historical accounts of pilgrimage which served as both background to the exhibition and a means of illustrating continuity, and change, over time. These included Patrick L. O’Madden’s Cruach Phádraig: St. Patrick’s holy mountain (Three Candles, 1929), Hanly and Dáithí P. Hanly’s Guide: The Church of Our Lady Queen of Ireland, Knock (Veritas, 1979). These along with other text were displayed adjacent to the storyboards, with short commentary on some items provided by Elaine. Elaine will discuss more about these items next month.

Three of the items on display as part of ‘Journeys of Belief and Belonging.’

 

Design

The text and images, in a raw format, were shared with Optima Signs who designed the storyboards. Based off their experiences of working with the UCC Library on previous exhibitions, they had a firm understanding of the format and styles which worked best in the setting. After several suggestions and clarifications on the text and images, Elaine and I visited the Optima Signs offices to view the draft designs and to make a decision. Brian Carty and his teams produced an excellent design which complemented the images and subject matter. An effect of ghosting one of the images onto the base of the storyboard served to enliven them and create an aesthetic continuity. They shared PDF versions with us for final proof-reading and addressing any remaining issues.

Storyboard #2 in the exhibition sequence.

 

Printing and Mounting

Optima Signs were very efficient in printing and mounting the storyboards in under a week in time for the opening, the date of which had been set a few weeks before. The storyboards were excellently rendered and presented in a manner which availed of the exhibition space. Again, their familiarity with the setting and the guidance of Elaine was invaluable in this regard.

 

Concluding Comments

Curating this exhibition was an extremely beneficial exercise for me as an early career researcher. It enabled me to collaborate with UCC Library and Optima Signs to communicate my work in a new medium. The expertise and experience of Elaine and Crónán, and the team at Optima Signs, was especially important in completing the project. I also gained valuable skills in producing this exhibition, which will stand to me in future endeavours.

Exhibitions and other forms of public engagement need to be encouraged and supported by universities, funding bodies, and researchers. For me, the exhibition is an integrated part of my postdoctoral fellowship, which is recognised by the Irish Research Council, UCC, and UCC Library. This type of institutional support is essential to nurture an environment that prompts and furthers community engagement practices.

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The Carpet Page

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The Carpet Page

In the Book of Kells, the carpet page on folio 33r is positioned opposite the miniature of Christ enthroned, folio 32v and followed by a blank folio 33v that in turn faces the splendidly decorated Chi Rho monogram on folio 34r.

But what is a carpet page?

The Carpet Page, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 33r © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The name ‘carpet pages’ is given to manuscript pages that consist largely of ornamentation with complex patterns of geometrical and zoomorphic interlace decorated with vivid colours. Carpet pages usually feature in front of the Gospel text. It is worthwhile to consider their location and the very name of the pages. The name and origins of these pages possibly lie in their resemblance to rugs and prayer mats. Lawrence Nees suggests that the origin of the term ‘carpet page’ is relatively modern. The earliest mention of the term is found in a 1940 essay by Ernst Kitzinger who describes the ornamental page in the Lindisfarne Gospels as filled with ‘carpet-like-patterns’. Prayer mats were used in Christian and Muslim worship in the East, and Bede (c.672-735) also mentions the use of such mats in Northumbria. Prayer mats marked a transition space and provided a devotee with place for prayer and meditation. In manuscripts, carpet pages mark the transition from preliminary texts to the Gospels or the transition between each Gospel account, thus preparing the reader for the sacred text.

The Carpet Page, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 33r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

Carpet pages in Insular manuscripts often experiment with different forms of the cross. In the Book of Kells we see a carpet page containing a double-armed cross with eight circles set at the intersections and terminals of the cross shafts. A visual emphasis on the number eight in relation to the cross can be understood through sacred numerology, as expounded by Church Fathers including St Augustine (354-430). The number eight represents Resurrection and salvation as Christ rose on the eighth day of the Passion week. According to exegetes this week also known as Holy Week begins the previous Sunday, making Palm Sunday the first day and Easter Sunday the eighth day of the week. The number also alludes to baptism that was prefigured in the cleansing of the world during the Flood when eight members of Noah’s family were the only humans to survive the Flood (Genesis 7:7). The Book of Genesis 17:10-14, states that circumcision should take place on the eighth day of a male’s life to mark the covenant with God. According to Augustine, baptism is the circumcision of the heart and baptism and Resurrection become part of the salvation process.

The Book of Kells is curious in that it only contains one carpet page, though parallels are found in other Insular manuscripts such the Book of Durrow, and Lindisfarne, Durham and Lichfield Gospels. It has been suggested that each Gospel in the Book of Kells would have originally been preceded by a now lost decorated page. The motif is already fully developed in the Book of Durrow, which dates to the late seventh century and is also housed in Trinity College Dublin (MS 57). As Jonathan J.G. Alexander notes, the similarity between the two carpet pages suggests that the Durrow example may have been the model for the Kells folio.

Reliquary of the True Cross, c.1500, Victoria and Albert Museum, Sacred Silver and Stained Glass Room © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The double-armed cross is unusual in Insular carpet pages and survives only in the Book of Durrow and Kells. This form of the cross originated in eastern Mediterranean art and had a very specific meaning referring to the shape of a reliquary of the True Cross, that contained the fragments of the Cross on which Christ was crucified along with the titulus (the title board). Fragments of the True Cross were highly prized throughout Christendom. In Ireland, a relic of the True Cross was enshrined in the Cross of Cong commissioned by the High King Turloch O’Connor (1106-1156), while another famous Cross relic was housed in the Cistercian Holy Cross Abbey, Co. Tipperary.

The carpet pages of Durrow and Kells were intended to represent the True Cross and allude to Christ’s Passion. Patristic traditions linked the Incarnation and salvation with the theology of the Cross. This link is visually expressed in the position of the Kells carpet page, folio 33r in the proximity of the Chi Rho monogram on folio 34r that proclaims the birth of Christ (Christi autem generatio).

The Carpet Page, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 33r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

A myriad of intricate details are contained within the sections between the arms of the cross and its border. Concealed within the intricately laced patterns are minutely executed interwoven depictions of lions with protruding tongues and long manes, snakes, peacocks and human figures. The animals allude to salvation: snakes that shed their skin are linked to renewal, peacocks whose flesh does not decay represent everlasting life, while lions allude to the Resurrection but also to Christ who descended from the tribe of Judah symbolised by a lion and is described as the Lion of Judah in the Book of Revelation 5:5.

On a side note, the figure of the Lion of Judah inspired C.S. Lewis in representing Aslan the lion in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Natasha Dukelow

 

Further reading

Alexander, Jonathan J.G., ed., A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, vol. 1: Insular Manuscripts, 6th to the 9th Century (London: Harvey Miller, 1975).

Brown, Michelle P., The Lindisfarne Gospels and the Early Medieval World (London: British Library, 2011).

Hitchens, Megan M., ‘Building on Belief: The Use of Sacred Geometry and Number Theory in the Book of Kells, fol. 33r’, Parergon 13/ 2 (1996), pp. 121-136.

Herren, Michael W. and Shirley Ann Brown, Christ in Celtic Christianity: Britain and Ireland from the Fifth to the Tenth Century (Woodbridge:  Boydell Press, 2002).

Livesey, Nina E., Circumcision as a Malleable Symbol (Heidelberg: Mohr Siebeck, 2010).

Nees, Lawrence, ‘Ethnic and Primitive Paradigms’, in Celia Chazelle and Felice Lifshitz, ed., Paradigms and Methods in Early Medieval Studies (New York: Springer, 2016), pp. 40-56.

O’ Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Exegesis in the Book of Kells; The Lucan Genealogy’, in Felicity O’Mahony, ed.,  The Book of Kells: Proceedings of a Conference at Trinity College Dublin, 6-9 September 1992 (Aldershot: Scolar Press for Trinity College Library Dublin, 1994), pp. 334-397.

Simpson, Raymond, The Lindisfarne Gospels (Stowmarket: Kevin Mayhew Ltd, 2013).

Sullivan, Edward, The Book of Kells (London and New York: The Studio, 1914).

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The Temptation of Christ

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The Temptation of Christ

The temptations of Christ are described in the Gospels of Mathew (4:1-11), Mark (1:12-13) and Luke (4:1-13). Following forty days of fasting in the desert, Christ is tempted by the devil three times. The final temptation takes place at the Temple in Jerusalem and aims to test Christ’s divinity by asking him to throw himself from the Temple to verify whether the angels would protect him. The Kells scene described as the Temptation of Christ is set within Luke’s Gospel (folio 202v). It shows Christ on top of the box-like structure flanked by two angels above, with a black winged figure of the devil possibly holding a lasso placed to the right. The illustration contains curious features that raise a number of questions. Why is Christ’s unusually large body emerging from the Temple? Who is the small figure in the door and who are the other human figures? What is the meaning of the angels and the devil?

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 202v © Trinity College Dublin

The most prominent figure in the Temptation miniature is the enlarged Christ placed atop the Temple. A particularly influential treatise on the significance of the Old Testament Temple was written by the Anglo-Saxon exegete Bede (c.672-735). Bede interprets the Temple as having multiple and spiritually intertwined meanings. It was God’s house built by King Solomon in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:1-17), that as Bede says is ‘a figure of the holy universal Church’ made of the faithful, who act as the living stones with Christ as its cornerstone. As argued by Jennifer O’Reilly, the Temple in exegetical tradition was not just an earthly location but a spiritual concept beyond spatial or temporal limits. The Kells Temptation miniature visually expresses these ideas by showing Christ and the Temple becoming one.

Two angelic figures flanking the head of Christ, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 202v (detail) © Trinity College Dublin

The permanent Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem replaced the portable Tabernacle carried by the Israelites for forty years in the desert, as the place of the meeting between God and his people (Exodus 7:16). The holiest area of the Tabernacle contained the Ark of Covenant with the tablets of the Ten Commandments and could only be attended by Aaron, the high priest and his descendants (Exodus 25–31 and 35–40). According to St Paul, the Church was the new Tabernacle ‘set up by the Lord, not by man’ with Christ becoming the new high priest (Hebrews 8:2, 4:14). Two angelic figures featured above Christ’s head may further link the Kells image to the Tabernacle. Their number and position allude to the cherubim placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant from where God’s voice was to be heard (Exodus 25:22).  They may also allude to Luke 4:10-11 where the devil tempts Christ and states that the angels should come to his aid if he leaps from the Temple. The framed figure in the doorway may depict the priestly figure of Aaron in the Tabernacle, King Solomon, the builder of the Temple or Christ himself.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 202v  (detail) © Trinity College Dublin

The angels and Christ are comparable to other figural representations in the Book of Kells, while the structure of the Temple recalls box-shaped Irish shrines such as the eighth-century Ranvaik’s casket. The skinny devil is however decidedly different, and his depiction can be related to some Byzantine representations. He appears to be using a lasso to ensnare Christ, who in turn is pointing a scroll at the devil. This image recalls the notion of a monastic community under attack, which is described in a treatise of the sixth-century monk, John Climacus. Later representations of John’s text show monks being lassoed from a ladder ascending to heaven. The Kells image and these Byzantine depictions represent elongated black devils holding a lasso.

A human figure with a shield, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 202v (detail) © Trinity College Dublin

Opposite, at the other side of the Temple, is a human figure holding a shield that symbolises the spiritual protection provided by the word of God as expressed by the Psalmist who says: ‘His truth shall compass thee with a shield’ (Psalm 90:5, cf. Ephesians 6:10-18).

Donncdha Carroll

 

Further reading

Connolly, Seán, trans., Bede on the Temple with ‘Introduction’ by Jennifer O’Reilly (Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press, 1995).

Farr, Carol Ann, The Book of Kells: Its Function and Audience (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).

Hourihane, Colum, ed., From Ireland Coming: Irish Art from the Early Christian to the Late Gothic Period and Its European Context (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).

Meehan, Bernard, The Book of Kells, An Illustrated Introduction (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2012).

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The Chi Rho Page

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The Chi Rho Page

The Chi Rho Page, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 34r. Opening of St Matthew’s Nativity Account, Matthew 1:18 © Trinity College Dublin

 

The Chi Rho page in the Book of Kells is perhaps the most elaborate and enigmatic illumination in the manuscript. The page is rich in multi-layered symbolism intended to engage its monastic audience with a range of Eucharistic and Christological themes.

A Chi Rho is formed by overlapping the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ: chi (X) and rho (P). The Kells initial also contains the third letter of Christ’s name, iota (I). When compared to other Insular manuscripts that similarly embellish the Chi Rho initials, the Kells page puts a distinct emphasis on Christ’s name with the chi alone nearly filling up the entire page. At the bottom of the page the text continues and contains the words autem generatio. The entire page celebrates the mystery of the Incarnation as it opens the Nativity story described in the Gospel of Matthew: Christi autem generatio sic erat (‘Now the generation of Christ was in this wise’, Matthew 1:18).

The verse is lavishly decorated, as if it were beginning a separate Gospel. In patristic tradition, the Incarnation was seen as an integral part of salvation that was fulfilled in the Crucifixion: Christ had to become incarnate to die on the Cross for the sins of humanity. The Kells miniature makes a visual connection between Christ’s birth and death by employing the magnificent X cross and smaller cross shapes.

Moths, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 34r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin

 

Hidden within the intricate decoration are insects and animals. At the top of the page two moths feature within a spandrel of the letter chi. According to the early Church Fathers, moths symbolise the Resurrection due to their natural metamorphosis.

Two mice, nibbling on the Eucharist host beset by cats, with two other mice sitting on top of cats. The black otter is visible at the left of the image. The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 34r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

At the bottom of the page a pair of cats pin down the tails of two mice that nibble at the Eucharistic host, while two other mice sit on the cats’ backs. Different suggestions have been made to explain these animals’ presence, ranging from mundane to theological. The scene may depict an actual nuisance caused by mice in the monastery. The image may allude to unworthy receivers of the host, represented by the mice, and the punishment that awaits them, presented by the preying cats. On the other hand, the cats can signify the devil lying in wait for human sinners (the mice) who are saved by the Eucharist. To the right of this image there is a small black otter with a fish in its mouth, which corresponds to stories about Irish monks being supplied with fish by otters. The Life of St Kevin recounts how his monks were fed with salmon provided by an otter, while the Navigatio Sancti Brendani (The Voyage of St Brendan) tells of a hermit sustained by fish and firewood brought to him by an otter.

Lozenge at the centre of the chi (X) shape, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 34r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The animals on the Chi Rho page, according to Suzanne Lewis, can be understood as representing three parts of creation: earth (cats and mice), sea (otter) and sky (moths).  Placed around Christ’s initials these animals underline Christ’s role as creator. The lozenge shape displayed in the centre of the monogram is connected to the quaternities, discussed in an earlier blog post on the four Evangelist symbols. The quadrangular world created by Christ the Logos is expressed through this lozenge shape and alludes to the fourfold nature of the Gospels, brought to the four corners of the world. As argued by Jennifer O’Reilly, ‘the underlying unity of this quadripartite world was seen to flow from its divine Creator made known in Christ’. The inclusion of the lozenge in the centre of the chi (X) shape demonstrates this link between Christ as creator and his creation. The lozenge motif recurs in the Book of Kells and is represented on the Virgin and Child miniature on Mary’s right shoulder with the Christ Child pointing at it.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 34r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin

The design also conceals three angels, while the curving upper terminal of the rho ends in a human head with tousled yellow hair. If you would like to know more about the symbolism behind this, read Michelle Brown’s paper on ‘Bearded Sages and Beautiful Boys’.

Natasha Dukelow

 

Further reading

‘Bethada Náem nÉrenn, Life of Coemgen (1)’, CELT  Corpus of Electronic Texts,  <http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201000G/text007.html>.

Brown, Michelle, ‘Bearded Sages and Beautiful Boys’, in Elizabeth Mullins and Diarmuid Scully, ed., Listen, O Isles, Unto Me: Studies in Medieval Word and Image in Honour of Jennifer O’Reilly (Cork: Cork University Press, 2011), pp. 278-291.

Henry, Françoise, The Book of Kells: Reproductions from the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin (London: Thames and Hudson, 1974).

Lewis, Suzanne, ‘Sacred Calligraphy: The Chi Rho Page in the Book of Kells’, Traditio 36 (1980), pp. 139-159.

Mussetter, Sally ‘An Animal Miniature on the Monogram Page of the Book of Kells’, Mediaevalia 3 (1977), pp. 119-20.

O’Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Patristic and Insular Traditions of the Evangelists: Exegesis and Iconography’, in Anna Maria Luiselli Fadda and Éamonn Ó Carragáin, ed., Le Isole Britanniche e Roma in Etá Romanobarbarica (Rome: Herder, 1998), pp. 49-94.

Simms, George Otto, Leaves from the Book of Kells (Dublin: A.P.C.K., 1962).

Sullivan, Edward, The Book of Kells (London and New York: The Studio, 1914).

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The Virgin Mary

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The Virgin Mary

The Virgin and Child, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 7v © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The miniature on folio 7v of the Book of Kells is the earliest surviving representation of the Virgin in a western manuscript, as noted by Martin Werner. Devotion to the Virgin Mary is well attested in Ireland and her cult developed there during the early Christian period. Peter O’Dwyer argues that the earliest reference to the Virgin in Irish writings is found in an Old Irish prophecy dated to c. 600. Mary’s cult was also well established within the Columban monastic network, as seen in her depiction on the shaft of St Martin’s Cross at Iona.

Photograph of St Martin’s Cross, Iona, 1901, Victoria and Albert Museum, Prints & Drawings Study Room © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Kells image depicts a tender moment between mother and child but the miniature’s original monastic audience would have been acutely aware that the image was not only a point of emotional connection as modern viewers may understand, but was also intended to be read in terms of the doctrines and mysteries surrounding the Incarnation of Christ.

Mary’s mantle is purple, the colour of royalty, and she wears a brooch in the shape of a lozenge with four smaller lozenges contained within it. The shape occurs on other Kells pages such as the Chi Rho page. The dominant position of the Virgin demonstrates the high respect with which she was treated, and her portrayal as enthroned celebrates her majesty. The halo around her head bears three crosses that link her to the Trinity, and suggests not only Mary’s sanctity but also her role in salvation. Mary plays an integral part in the Incarnation, through which the second person of the Trinity (Christ) becomes flesh for the redemption and salvation of humanity fulfilled through his Crucifixion. Interestingly, Christ is destitute of a halo. As this symbol indicates divinity, its presence around Mary’s head in the Kells miniature celebrates her as the Mother of God, while the lack of the halo around Christ’s head emphasises his humanity.

 

Six profile heads set in the margin, looking to the left, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 7v (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

In the right margin of the miniature, six profile heads look across, signalling that the image and facing page should be read in conjunction. The depiction of the Virgin and Child offers an appropriate preface to folio 8r with the text of the breves causae of Matthew, which presents a summary of his Gospel, and begins with Nativitas Christi in Bethlem (‘The Birth of Christ in Bethlehem’). The angel on the lower left of the miniature holds a flabellum (a fan used to protect the Eucharist from flies) with a twelve-petal rosette. This motif is picked up on the following page, as it defines the shape of the initial letter on the facing Nativitas text, and according to Bernard Meehan, former Keeper of Manuscripts, TCD, it represents the Star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:7-11).

The draping of Mary’s clothing in the Kells miniature clearly reveals her breasts. The triple dots on her robes follow a Near Eastern tradition of using the motif to denote garments of the highest quality. However, here the triple groupings seem to allude to the Trinity and as they are white, the dots according to Meehan represent the mother’s milk. This Irish Virgin is shown as a fertile and nourishing mother. Milk, in exegesis stood for the milk of Christian instruction, where it represents the initial stages of evangelical teaching before one can move onto solid food (cf. Hebrews 5:12).

Isis nursing Horus, Egypt, 332-30 BC, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, www.metmuseum.org

The miniature displays knowledge of various iconographic traditions of depicting of the mother and child. The Kells image shows parallels with early Coptic (Christian Egyptian) images, which themselves engage with earlier non-Christian depictions of the Egyptian goddess Isis nursing Horus.

Front cover of the Lorsch Gospels depicts Christ sitting upright on his mother’s lap, flanked by the figures of John the Baptist and the prophet Zacharias. The panel below depicts the scenes of the Annunciation and Nativity. The panel above depicts a medallion with the glorified bust-length figure of Christ. Carolingian Gospel Cover, Aachen, c. 810. Victoria and Albert Museum, Medieval & Renaissance Gallery © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In early Christian monumental mosaic depictions of the Virgin and Child or in Carolingian ivories, Christ was presented sitting upright on Mary’s knee and both showed serious expressions as the Christ Child blessed those he looked upon with his fingers raised. The Book of Kells miniature instead has the Christ Child looking up at his mother, while reaching out to her with his left hand and embracing her arm with his right hand. As well as a God, we are also presented with a child seated on his mother’s lap. It seems that the illuminators of the Book of Kells had exposure to the iconographic models that favoured more intimate depictions of the mother and child.

Christ is depicted as having two left feet, while the Virgin is depicted as having two right feet. That representation is sometimes regarded as an error on the illuminators’ behalf, but this explanation seems unlikely, especially when one considers the high status of the Book of Kells and the immense care taken in its production as well as the spiritual symbolism of feet in the Bible. References to God’s feet or footstool allude to the divine power and glory (cf. Psalm 18:9, 132:6), while the washing of feet is regarded as the act of hospitality and humility (cf. Genesis 18:4, John 13:1-17).

Natasha Dukelow

 

Further reading

O’Dwyer, Peter, Mary: A History of Devotion in Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998).

O’Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Introduction’, in Seán Connolly, trans., Bede on the Temple (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1995).

Rosenau, Helen, ‘The Prototype of the Virgin and Child in the Book of Kells’, Burlington Magazine 83 (1943), pp. 228-231.

Werner, Martin, ‘The Virgin and Child Miniature in the Book of Kells, Part I’, The Art Bulletin 54/ 1 (1972), pp. 1-23.

Werner, Martin, ‘The Virgin and Child Miniature in the Book of Kells, Part II’, The Art Bulletin 54/ 2 (1972), pp. 129-139.

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The In principio Initial

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The In Principio Initial

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 292r, Opening of St John’s Gospel, In principio (letters traced) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

This post focuses on the text and imagery of folio 292r, which reads In principio erat verbum (‘In the beginning was the word’, John 1:1).  The first three letters of the text are the largest and most elaborate. The I and N share a vertical shaft in the far left of the image. The diagonal of the N is then formed by linking that shaft to another by means of two circles and a cruciform shape. Sitting at the top of the image is a human figure robed in purple and clutching a book. The figure has been identified as a deacon holding a Gospel book, but also as an image of God the Father or the creating Logos. As pointed out by Małgorzata D’Aughton, the position of the figure above the circle parallels images of Christ seated on the globe of the world as in the fifth-century mosaic found in the baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte, Naples or the later San Marco mosaic in Venice, which was inspired by a fifth- or sixth-century manuscript illustrations of the creation of the world. The iconography of the creation provides an appropriate context for the Kells page that glorifies the Word that existed at the beginning (John 1:1).  The opening words of the Gospel of John evoke the opening words of the Book of Genesis that reads In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram (‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’, Genesis 1:1) as the two texts emphasize the role of the word in the process of creation. In the Book of Genesis, God calls the universe into existence and then names all created things and beings (Genesis 1:1-31).

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 292r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The letter P is the last of the three largest letters on the folio. The vertical shaft of this letter is joined to the second vertical of the N, while the loop is an independent rectangular shape. The second human figure is positioned above the loop of the P. He is shown seated, drinking from a cup, while a monstrous face of a lion, stares at him, mouth agape. This human figure has been identified as a Christian, who is saved from evil by drinking the Eucharistic wine. It may also, as argued by George Henderson, be a representation of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he asks his disciple Peter, whether he, Jesus, can refuse to drink from the chalice prepared for him by the Father (John 18:11). This passage features at the opening of the Passion account and is directed at Peter as he attempts to prevent the arrest of Jesus.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 292r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The next line includes letters R, I, N, and C that are formed by serpent-like creatures and are relatively easy to read, as well as the letter I formed by a human figure grappling with the letter C. Imagery of wrestling or grappling in Biblical and patristic texts often relates to a struggle against evil. One such text is St Paul’s verse in the Epistle to the Ephesians that describes Christians as ‘wrestling not against flesh and blood but against the world rulers of present darkness’ (Ephesians 6:12). The Kells image may evoke this theme. The remaining letters that appear at the bottom of the page in two lines are the easiest to read; they spell out the letters P, I, O, E, R, A, T, V, E, R, B, U, and M. These letters are executed in a clear style without any decoration in a dark hue that contrasts them with the lighter background.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 292r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

Connor White

 

Further reading

Krasnodębska-D’Aughton, Małgorzata, ‘Decoration of the In principio Initials in Early Insular Manuscripts: Christ as a Visible Image of the Invisible God’, Word and Image 18/2 (2012), pp. 105-122.

Farr, Carol Ann, The Book of Kells: Its Function and Audience (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).

Henderson, George, From Durrow to Kells: The Insular Gospel-Books, 650-800 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987).

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The Canon Tables

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The Canon Tables

In the fourth century, Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339) created a series of ten canon tables to demonstrate the harmony of the Gospel accounts by cross-referencing corresponding sections within the Gospels. Eusebius elaborated on a method used in the third century by Ammonius of Alexandria, which took Matthew’s Gospel as the key reference point and compared passages from other Gospels to those in Matthew’s account. The Eusebian canon tables show which sections of the Gospels are common to all four accounts, which stories feature only in three or two Gospels and which are distinctive to each Gospel narrative.  The canon tables can be found in Insular Gospel books including the Book of Kells, where they precede the text of the Gospels.

The Canon Table, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 5r © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

In the Book of Kells, the canon tables are placed within elaborate architectural structures, with columns supporting an arch. They span eight folios and are followed by two folios of canons set in a grid format. The four Evangelist symbols depicted within the arches are used to embellish the tables but also act as a visual aid by signifying the Gospels that are being compared. As readers looked across the page, they could discern, for example, which section number in Matthew’s Gospel corresponds to which section number in the Gospels of Mark, Luke or John.

The Canon Table, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 5r (detail) © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

For the tables to be used, the corresponding sections have to be signified throughout the Gospel text which is not the case in the Book of Kells, confirming that the manuscript was intended for ceremonial display, rather than for everyday liturgical use. However, the very presence of canon tables in the Gospel manuscript such as the Book of Kells expresses the harmony between the Evangelists and their writings. By comparing the similarities between the distinctive Gospels, the tables reiterate the notion of a single divinely inspired narrative of the four texts. Jennifer O’Reilly argued that the canon tables demonstrate how the four Gospels revealed individual and complementary facets of the same truth in four different ways. The tables provide the reader with a visualisation of textual similarities found in the Gospels and combined with the images of intertwining symbols depicted in the arches, they emphasise the harmony of the accounts.

Kate O’Brien

 

Further reading

Friend, A. M., ‘The Canon Tables of the Book of Kells’, in W. R. Koehler, ed., Medieval Studies in Memory of Arthur Kingsley Porter, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939), vol. 2, pp. 611-641.

Mullins, Elizabeth, ‘The Insular Reception of the Eusebian Canon Tables‘ (PhD thesis, University College Cork, 2001).

Mullins, Elizabeth, ‘The Canon Tables in Boulogne, Bibliotheque Municipale, MS 10’, in Diarmuid Scully and Elizabeth Mullins, ed., Listen O Isles, Unto Me: Studies in Medieval Word and Image in Honour of Jennifer O’Reilly (Cork: Cork University Press, 2011), pp. 302-312.

Netzer, Nancy, ‘The Origin of the Beast Canon Tables Reconsidered’, in Felicity O’Mahony, ed., The Book of Kells: Proceedings of a Conference at Trinity College Dublin, 6-9 September 1992 (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1994), pp. 183-195.

O’Loughlin, Thomas, ‘Harmonizing the Truth: Eusebius and the Problem of the Four Gospels’, Traditio 65 (1980), pp. 1-31.

Sullivan, Edward, The Book of Kells (London and New York: The Studio, 1914).

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / The Four Evangelists

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

The Four Evangelists

The Four Evangelist Symbols, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 129v © Trinity College Dublin

The most frequently found images in Insular Gospel manuscripts are those associated with the four Evangelists, depicted in portrait or symbol. In Gospel books, Evangelist portraits marked the beginning of each Gospel text, and their iconography derives from Late Antique author portraits. Two of the Evangelist portraits in the Book of Kells have survived, one representing Matthew, seen below, and one – John. It is believed that preceding each of the four Gospels, there was once a portrait of the corresponding Evangelist as well as a page that depicted all four Evangelist symbols, but unfortunately some of these have been lost.

Portrait of Matthew, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 28v © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The representations of the winged man, lion, ox and eagle correspond to the four Evangelist writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These images are linked to the divine revelation witnessed by the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel. In a vision by the River Kebar, Ezekiel saw four living creatures descending from heaven, each with four faces and four wings (Ezekiel 1:4-16). Drawing on Ezekiel’s text, John the Evangelist described the four creatures with four faces and six wings standing next to the throne of the Almighty (Revelation 4:6-9).

The early Christian writers linked these creatures to the Evangelists in an attempt to emphasise the harmony between the Gospels. In the second century, Irenaeus (130-202) linked Matthew with the man, Mark with the eagle, Luke with the ox and John with the lion. However, the most influential interpretation was that provided by Jerome (347-420) in the text of the Plures fuisse which are the opening words of his commentary on Matthew.  The text of the Plures fuisse was later copied in some Insular manuscripts.

Jerome based his pairing on the opening passages of each Gospel. According to Jerome, Matthews’s symbol is a man, as his Gospel opens with the description of Christ’s human descent: ‘The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham’ (Matthew 1:1). Mark is linked to a lion since his Gospel describes John the Baptist as a voice crying in the wilderness, which Jerome links with the roar of a lion: ‘A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths’ (Mark 1:3). Luke is represented as an ox because his Gospel opens with a story of the priest  Zachariah in the Temple: ‘There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary (Zachariah), of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth’ (Luke 1:5). Jerome connects that story to the Old Testament practice of using an ox in religious sacrifices (cf. Exodus 20:24). Finally, John is depicted as an eagle because at the beginning of his Gospel he immediately focuses on Christ’s divinity and his role in creation, rather than Christ’s earthly origins: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God’ (John 1:1). John is therefore like an eagle because it was believed that the eagle alone could fly towards the sun (a symbol of divinity) and look at it without being blinded. The Book of Kells features Jerome’s pairings.

Expanding on Jerome’s exegesis of the Evangelists and their relationship with the four creatures, Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) related each symbol to an event in Christ’s life. According to Gregory, the man symbolised Christ’s Incarnation, with significance placed on his humanity at birth. The ox represented the Passion of Christ due to the animal’s common use in the Old Testament sacrificial ceremonies, which prefigured Christ’s sacrifice.  The lion stood for the Resurrection; according to the bestiary tradition a young lion was born either dead or asleep (details vary between traditions), but was awakened by the breath and roar of a parent. Isidore of Seville (560-636) writes: ‘when they [lions] bear their cubs, the cub is said to sleep for three days and nights, and then after that the roaring or growling of the father, making the den shake, as it were, is said to wake the sleeping cub’ (Etymologies 12.2.5, trans. Barney, 2006). Finally, the eagle soaring towards heaven was associated with the Ascension of Christ into heaven.

The Four Evangelist Symbols, The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 27v © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

In pairing the four Evangelists with the beasts, exegetes created an exposition on the Gospel harmony that reflected the harmony of the natural world. The four Evangelists were related to the four cardinal directions, the four seasons, the four winds and the four elements that made the world and each human being, namely earth, fire, water and air. As argued by Jennifer O’Reilly, the four Gospels also reflected the quaternities of the Old Testament: the four rivers of Paradise or the four corners of the Ark of the Covenant. The number four was seen as harmonious and hence fitting to express the unified nature of the four Gospels. For this reason, the symbols are often depicted on a single page to represent distinctive accounts of the same truth.

The representations of the Evangelists as animals with particular characteristics also stem from bestiary traditions. A bestiary was a text that described real and imaginary animals or beasts and other animate and inanimate elements of the natural world. Characteristics of animals and their habitat were given symbolic significance and religious and moral meaning. If you are interested in finding out more about the bestiary tradition, then check out the Aberdeen Bestiary Project.

Kate O’Brien

 

Further reading

Barney, Stephen A., trans. and ed., The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

McGurk, Patrick, ‘The Gospel Text’, in Peter Fox, ed., The Book of Kells: MS 58, Trinity College Library Dublin (Lucerne: Facsimile Verlag, 1990), pp. 59-152.

O’Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Gospel Harmony and the Names of Christ in Insular Gospel Books’, in John Sharpe and Kimberly van Kampen, ed., The Bible as Book: The Manuscript Tradition (London: British Library, 1998), pp. 73-88.

O’Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Patristic and Insular Traditions of the Evangelists’, in Anna Maria Luiselli Fadda and Éamonn Ó Carragáin, ed., Le Isole Britanniche e Roma in Età Romanobarbarica (Rome: Herder, 1998), pp. 49-94.

Sullivan, Edward, The Book of Kells (London and New York: The Studio, 1914).

De Vinck, Aude, ‘An Early History of Portraiture: The Evangelist Portraits in Insular Gospel Books’ (MA thesis, University College Cork, 1994).

 

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / Opening Initials

Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

Opening Initials

The initial pages of each of the four Gospels in the Book of Kells are not at first glance easy to read. The alphabet used is the same one used by the majority of western countries today, but a different approach to the written word led to the creation of some unusually shaped letters that not only form words, but transmit symbolic meanings. Many of the pages were intentionally written to conceal letters, so the act of reading the text and finding its deeper meaning required focus and spiritual application. The obscuring of the letters in the Book of Kells would encourage the reader to spend time contemplating the deeper meaning of the passage.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 130r, Opening of St Marks’s Gospel, Initium Evangelii © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The Book of Kells conceals the opening words to each Gospel behind highly abstract, brightly coloured, interlocking letters. These letters are further decorated by the inclusion of men, animals and geometric shapes that are designed to act together with the text in illustrating the deeper meaning of the Gospel text. The initial page of the Gospel of Luke, folio 188r (below) contains the word Quoniam (‘forasmuch’) with the letter Q dominating over half of the page. Within the loop of the Q is set a large diamond-shaped lozenge. The lozenge has been interpreted as a reference to the world and the four cardinal directions. As argued by Jennifer O’Reilly, a lozenge shape in the Book of Kells also represents Christ. In expounding on the central position of the lozenge in the Kells Chi Rho page, she shows how the lozenge on that folio brings together the four corners of the world. The arms of the letter chi (X) simultaneously evoke the name of Christ and the Cross, as is discussed in another blog in this series devoted to the Chi Rho page.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 188r, Opening of St Luke’s Gospel, Quoniam © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

In the bottom right of the Quoniam miniature there are small figures that populate the letters. George Bain interpreted the seated figure in the green robe as representing Christ, offering a chalice with the Eucharistic wine to several of the surrounding figures. This Eucharistic imagery taken in conjunction with the large lozenge appearing above, suggests that the path to eternal life is through Christ whose life is told in the Gospels. Another blog in this series will go into further detail about the reading and interpretation of the In principio  (‘In the beginning’) initial on folio 292r that opens the Gospel of St John.

Connor White

 

Further reading

Bain, George, Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction (London: Constable, 1977).

Golden, Sean, ‘The Quoniam Page from the Book of Kells’,  A Wake Newslitter  11 (1974), pp. 85-86.

King, Mike, ‘Diamonds are Forever, the Kilbroney Cross, the Book of Kells, and an Early Christian Symbol of the Resurrection’, Lecale Miscellany 19 (2001), pp. 3-13.

Markus, Robert Austin, Signs and Meanings. World and Text in Ancient Christianity (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1996).

O’Reilly, Jennifer, ‘Patristic and Insular Traditions of the Evangelists: Exegesis and Iconography’, in Anna Maria Luiselli Fadda and Éamonn Ó Carragáin, ed., Le Isole Britanniche e Roma in Età Romanobarbarica (Rome: Herder, 1998), pp. 49-94.

Richardson, Hilary, ‘Themes in Eriugena’s Writings and Early Irish Art’, in James McEvoy and Michael Dunne, ed., History and Eschatology in John Scottus Eriugena and His Time: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Society for the Promotion of Eriugenian Studies Maynooth and Dublin, August 16-20, 2000 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002), pp. 261-280.

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The Book of Kells: Image and Text / Introduction to the Book of Kells

 Student Exhibition, MA in Medieval History

Introduction to the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells, Trinity College Dublin, MS 58, widely recognised as one of Ireland’s most significant medieval treasures, is a wonderful example of an Insular Gospel book. The term ‘Insular’ is used by scholars to describe manuscripts created in Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England, and in the Irish and English monastic centres on the continent, between the sixth and ninth centuries. Dated to the early ninth century, the Book of Kells is referred to in the later Annals of Ulster as ‘the great Gospel of Colmcille’, with this annalistic entry showing the association of the Book of Kells with the sixth-century Irish saint, Columba (Colmcille) of Iona. Modern scholars believe that the book was likely created in one of the Columban monasteries, which included Kells, Co. Meath and the island of Iona.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 200v, Genealogy of Christ, Luke 3:26-29 © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

In 1006, the manuscript by then regarded as ‘the chief treasure of the western world’, was stolen from the sacristy of the monastery of Kells as recorded by the Annals of Ulster. It was recovered two months later, found under a sod of earth and returned to Kells. In 1653 the book was brought to Dublin and placed in Trinity College for safety. The renowned scholar James Ussher (1581-1656), who studied and taught at Trinity College and later became the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, is credited with calling the manuscript the Book of Kells. The manuscript has been rebound five times and is now bound in four volumes, two of which are on display in the eighteenth-century Old Library building at Trinity College Dublin.

The Book of Kells currently contains 340 folios, that is 680 pages, and it is estimated that sixty folios have been lost. The text of the four Gospels draws from both the Latin text of the Vulgate translation by St Jerome (347-420) and an earlier Old Latin translation. Placed before the Gospels are: a list of Hebrew names that survives only on one page, canon tables designed to evoke the harmony of the Gospels, the breves causae which summarise the Gospels and the argumenta that contain biographies of the Evangelists. The Book of Kells also contains later additions such as a fifteenth-century poem describing it as a relic of St Columba and a record of property transactions written in Irish and pertaining to the monastery at Kells.

Examples of decorated letters from the Book of Kells, TCD MS 58 © Trinity College Dublin. In Sullivan, The Book of Kells, 1914.

The Book of Kells is the most richly decorated Insular manuscript that survives and the colours used in its illumination are far more diverse than in other Gospel books such as the Book of Durrow or the Lindisfarne Gospels. Preceding each Gospel text in the Book of Kells is the image of the four Evangelist symbols, followed by a decorated opening initial. Originally each Gospel may have opened with a miniature of the relevant Evangelist, with only two portraits of Matthew and John now surviving.  Other Gospel passages such as the account of the Nativity (Chi Rho page) are highlighted for spiritual or liturgical reasons. The Book of Kells also depicts scenes which may be regarded as narrative such as the Arrest of Christ, folio 114r and the Temptation of Christ, folio 202v. As will be discussed later in relation to the Temptation miniature, and expounded by the ground-breaking studies of Jennifer O’Reilly, these images act as visual exegesis, that is a visual commentary on complex biblical themes and their meaning.

The Book of Kells was a combined effort of a monastic community. Françoise Henry in her pioneering work on early Irish art, argued that three scribes with their own distinctive styles had been part of the production of the manuscript. It is now considered that possibly four scribes were involved. Three illuminators were also involved in the creation of the manuscript. The painter of the Chi Rho page is distinguished by his usage of gold filigree designs, while the creator of scenes such as the Temptation and the Arrest of Christ focused on usage of vivid colours and therefore has been given the title of the Illustrator.

The Book of Kells primarily functioned as a ceremonial book to be used at special liturgical occasions as can be deduced from its lavish design.

The Book of Kells, TCD MS 58, folio 204r, Luke 4:7-13 © Trinity College Dublin

Listen to an audio recording of Vicky Janssens reading TCD MS 58 folio 204r.

Donncdha Carroll

 

Further reading

Colker, Marvin L., Trinity College Library Dublin: Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts (Aldershot: Scolar Press 1991).

Farr, Carol Ann, The Book of Kells: Its Function and Audience (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997).

Henry, Françoise, Early Christian Irish Art (Dublin: Cultural Relations Committee of Ireland, 1965).

Herbert, Máire, Iona, Kells and Derry: The History and Hagiography of the Monastic ‘Familia’ of Columba (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988).

McGurk, Patrick, Latin Gospel Books from A.D. 400 to A.D. 800 (Paris: Éditions Érasme, 1961).

McNamara, Martin, Studies on Texts of Early Irish Latin Gospels: A.D. 600-1200 (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990).

Meehan, Bernard, The Book of Kells (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2012).

O’Mahony, Felicity, ed., The Book of Kells: Proceedings of a Conference at Trinity College, Dublin, 6-9 September 1992 (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1994).

 

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