Insular Script

Insular script originated in Ireland in the 7th century and was used until the 19th century works written in Insular script usually have a large initial surrounded with ink dots and then the letters get smaller after that.


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Within Insular script there is five grades which define formality. The first is insular half uncial which is the most formal this was used for directions and displays around the 9th century

Insular hybrid minuscule was used for formal church books

Insular set miniscule

Insular cursive miniscule

Insular current miniscule is the least formal and in this context current actually means running

Closely linked to this typeface is insular art which originated from Irish monasteries beginning around 600ad.

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The finest period of the art was brought to an end during the Viking raids which began in the late 8th century. This was during the creation of the book of Kells so after there was not as much detail put into the art

Insular art was mainly produced in Ireland and the UK. The word insular actually derives from the Latin word “insula” meaning island

In England the style merged into Anglo Saxon art around 900. In Ireland it merged to Romanesque art in the 12th century. The influence of insular art affected all subsequent European medieval art for example Romanesque and gothic manuscripts.



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