Book of Kells

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The book of Kells is a manuscript which contains the four gospels written in Latin. The manuscript was written on calfskin also known as vellum and the script used was insular script. The place of origin for the book is usually said to be a monastery founded by St Colum Cille on Iona a small island off Scotland. After a Viking raid the book was moved to a new monastery at Kells in county Meath in Ireland. Research suggests that the book was written around the year 800 but it’s not clear, it’s also unclear as to exactly where the book was written.

At the minute the book stays on display in Trinity College Dublin and has been there since the mid-19th century. It attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. The pages are turned at regular intervals but there but always display two illustrated pages and two written pages

At the minute there is 680 surviving pages. Many have been lost because it’s so old and it had been stolen so many times

The books measurements at the minute are 33cm by 25 just bigger than A4. Originally there was no standard size but in the 19th century the book was cropped to be re-binded

One of the things I really loved about looking at the book was that the text turned into image. After researching I found that the script that was used was Insular script and it commonly used large initial letters surrounded by red ink dots

The script was medieval and originated in Ireland then great Britain and the spread throughout Europe under the influence of Irish Christianity. Irish missionaries also took the script to Europe and spread it through monasteries


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