March 17, 2014

Kiss Me I'm Irish

Ahhh... St. Patrick's Day is upon us. A day where everyone is Irish, the elusive shamrock is everywhere, and the Guinness flows like wine. Like our beloved St. Valentine, the real St. Patrick spent many years in captivity and survived awful conditions. The lore that follows is an amusing leap and here we are. All kissing aside, it has me thinking of bookbindings, and celtic type.

Here is a page from the very famous Book of Kells:


The Book of Kells is a group of illuminated manuscripts. Created by Celtic Monks in (a very debatable) 800 AD., it is a true masterpiece and is considered the pinnacle of Insular Style.

The manuscript was hand-written primarily in an insular script, which greatly influenced modern Gaelic scripts and typography. It has been noted that since the scribes were writing primarily from memory, there are a few instances between the text and the accepted Gospels. Aesthetics definitely took priority over utility or fact.

Here is a close-up of a decorated initial:

To say this is a lavish work of art is an understatement. If you ever find yourself in Dublin, please make way to Trinity College to see this amazing feat for your own eyes. There is so much information about it on the web, as well. It's worth a few hours if you have the slightest interest in art, history, and design. Erin Go Bragh!

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