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The Book of Kells, Complete Facsimile, 3 Volumes, Bound in Vellum, 218 of 500



The Book of Kells - Evangeliorum Quattuor Codex Cenannensis

Three Volume Limited Edition - 218 of 500

Published by Urs Graf, Berne in 1950

Complete Facsimile in Full Vellum Bindings

FINE- Condition in the Original Shipping Boxes

This is a complete facsimile of "The Book of Kells – Evangeliorum Auattuor Codex Cenannensis” published by Urs Graf, Berne in 1950 with a limitation of 500 copies this being number 218. Considered by many to be the most beautiful book in the world, the original Book of Kells is on display at Trinity College in Dublin where upwards of 500,000 people a year visit the college to view the book. The Book of Kells or Codex Cenannensis is a manuscript copy of the four gospels in Latin, written in celtic style. Originally it was known as Soisceala Mor Columchille or the Great Gospel of Columcille. The book takes its name from the monastery of Kells, Co. Meath, where it remained for centuries. With the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the last Abbot, Richard Plunkett, gave it to his kinsman, Gerald Plunkett of Dublin, for safe keeping. Early in the following century it came into the possession of Archbishop James Ussher, who kept it in his library at his house in Drogheda. It narrowly escaped destruction during the Rebellion of 1641 and shortly afterwards when Ussher went to England he brought this masterpiece with him. Some fifteen years later it was brought back to Ireland and kept safely in Dublin Castle until 1661 when it was given to Trinity College, where it is on permanent view to all. It is the finest example extant of the art of illumination. Giraldus Cambrensis, the Norman Chronicler, writing in the twelfth century stated: “If you look closely and penetrate the art, you will discover such delicate and subtle lines, so closely wrought, so finely curved, so intricately woven and so beautifully adorned with colours that are still so fresh, that you will acknowledge that all this is the work of an angelic rather than a human hand”, and he concludes “However often and however closely I scrutinize it, I am always astounded afresh, and always find more and more to admire in it”.

The limited edition consists of 3 volumes with each book measuring approximately 16” by 9”. The first two volumes are bound in the original gilt-stamped full vellum and contain a complete facsimile of the Book of Kells with 48 pages in full color and six hundred and fifty two in monochrome. The third volume is bound in the original vellum-backed blue boards and contains an excellent introduction by E.H. Alton; a study of the illuminations by Prof. Peter Meyer; and a collation of the text with the Vulgate by Dr. George O. Simms, Archbishop of Dublin.

The bindings of the 2 volumes of the Book of Kells are in FINE- condition with the usual shading to the vellum that happens over time. The companion volume in in Near FINE condition with some bumping to the head and heel of the spine. Internally, all 3 volumes are in FINE condition. The 3 volumes are all housed in the original shipping boxes.

Photographs of the books and shipping boxes as well as some stock photographs of examples of images from the books appear below in the photo section of the listing.