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Book of Kellslocked

  • Roger Stalley

Extract

Manuscript of the four Gospels, in Latin, written and illuminated on vellum probably in the second half of the 8th century ad. It is the most extravagant and complex of the Insular Gospel books, representing the climax of a development that began in the 7th century ad with such manuscripts as the Book of Durrow (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 57; see fig.). The 340 folios (originally about 370; present size 330×255 mm) are now bound into four volumes (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 58). As well as the four Gospels the manuscript contains a sequence of ornate canon tables, decorated with architectural frames and symbols of the Evangelists, and other introductory material. St Matthew’s Gospel opens with a whole page devoted to the symbolic beasts (fol. 27v), one of several such pages designed to underline the harmony of the four Gospels. This is followed by a portrait of ...

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