The Book of Kells: Bernard Meehan


Christ Enthroned

Described in the Annals of Ulster in 1007 as ‘the most precious object in the western world’, the cultural and historical value of the Book of Kells has only increased in the millennium since.

Created on Iona, it is a masterpiece of medieval art: A brilliantly decorated version of the four Gospels with full-page depictions of Christ, the Virgin and the Evangelists as well as a wealth of smaller decorative painting.

The new book, by Bernard Meehan, Head of Research Collections and the Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Library, Dublin, where it is housed, is as close to a definitive study of this sublime cultural artefact as there is.  It represents on a generous scale the glories of the Book of Kells for today’s readers, revealing the astounding detail and richness of one of the world’s iconic objects.


The Abbey, Iona


The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

In this illustrated talk, Dr Meehan will explain the Book of Kells through its historical background; the elements of the book; the spectacular openings of the texts that precede the Gospels; a study of earlier and comparable manuscripts; detailed examination of symbols and themes, with special enlarged details that let us relish the intricacy of elements barely visible to the naked eye; a look at the scribes and artists who worked on the manuscript; and a consideration of technical aspects, illuminated by recent scientific research.

Guardian Review

FT Review

Event Chaired by Malcolm Maclean, former Director of Proiseact nan Ealan and present Chairman UNESCO Scotland.

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