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The Book of Durrow

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Rachel Moss


An illuminating guide to one of the great masterpieces of Celtic manuscript art, published to coincide with a major exhibition at the British Library

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The Book of Durrow is among the earliest surviving decorated manuscripts in north-western Europe, dating to the late seventh century AD. A masterpiece of Celtic art, it is believed to be the oldest fully decorated Insular Gospel that survives, pre-dating the Book of Kells by more than a century. Created in a monastery associated with the Irish saint Colum Cille (St Columba), its text and artwork reflect the formative years of a distinctive ‘golden age’ of artistic production in Ireland and Britain. This richly decorated introductory guide explores the manuscript’s distinctive artwork and tells the extraordinary story of its preservation in the Irish monastery at Durrow – first as sacred text then as relic – and its acquisition in the seventeenth century by the Library of Trinity College Dublin.

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 24.8 x 19.0 cm

Extent: 96 pp

Illustrations: 106

Publication date: 18 October 2018

ISBN: 9780500294604

Contents List

1. Durrow and the Origins of the Book • 2. The Text • 3. The Illustrated Pages 4. Making the Manuscript • 5. Uses and Abuses of the Manuscript

About the Author

Trinity College is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university in Ireland. The college was founded in 1592 and is Ireland's oldest university.

Rachel Moss is associate professor of the history of art at Trinity College Dublin, where the Book of Durrow is held. She is a specialist in the art of early medieval Ireland and has published widely on the subject, including Art and Architecture of Ireland: Medieval, c. 400–c. 1600 (2014).