Thursday, March 31, 2011


Ever since Eliza and I went to see The Secret of Kells last summer, Dan has been wanting to take us to see a facsimile of the actual Book of Kells housed in the Special Collections at the university library.  Recently the whole family watched it, and though Ani thought the vikings were quite scary (hence the pile of books about vikings currently visiting our library box), it again caught our imagination, so Dan made an appointment for us to be able to see and spend some time with the illuminated manuscript.
The heft of the book was very satisfying, even if it was only a reproduction.  The original would have had calf vellum pages.
While Ani was a little disappointed that the book did not have a cover like the original, covered in gold and jewels, it was nice to be allowed to touch the pages.  The fascimile shows the holes that have occurred in the original pages, as well as the stitching that mends some of the tears in the vellum.
My pictures  - inside a dark room - don't do the images justice. The color is so saturated and bold. I can only imagine what it might have looked like when first painted.
A magnifying glass helped bring out some of the miniscule details. Those poor monks' eyes. I am sure that many went blind working on this book.
Dan did a wonderful job of engaging the girls - for 45 minutes! - explaining some of the symbolism, and searching the knots and labyrinths for faces and animals.
A great field trip with Papa! 

The girls and I found some treasures on our way home...
a tiny door!


Stephanie said...

Very cool!

I love it when things that are so different like that (the book) come up. Takes you out of your element and into another world.

Reba said...

Cool that it was a situation where they could hold it and touch it. At least it seemed like that from the post! That makes it so much more interesting! And to be able to page through and take your time with it. Awesome!

Phyllis said...

Oh, this post is wonderful. I loved seeing the pages. Just awesome.

Kerry said...

John and I saw the Book of Kells in Dublin, where it is housed in its very own little museum at Trinity College. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The book is under glass, and each day they turn a page. So beautiful.

merry said...

I don't really have anything outstanding to say, but needed to enter something as my word verification is MENDI!!! Do you believe it?!!!