Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Celtic 

Plate V, detail, Portrait of St. Matthew [pre-20th cent.] (Public Domain Image)

The Book of Kells

by Edward Sullivan


Contents    Start Reading    Page Index    Text [Zipped]

During the dark ages the arts of bookmaking, illustration and manuscript illumination were preserved in remote Irish abbeys. A number of unique, exquisite books remain from this period, masterpieces of world art. This includes the ninth century Book of Kells, a manuscript of the Gospel richly illustrated with Celtic motifs and deep symbolism. This book includes an extended introduction to the Book of Kells, along with its historic and linguistic background. We have included high resolution scans of the illustrations, which include many famous pages from this amazing manuscript.

Title Page
Prefatory Note
Preface to Second Edition
List of Plates


Plate I. A Page of the Eusebian Canons. Fol. 5 R
Plate II. The Virgin and Child. Fol. 7 V.
Plate III. Portion of the ''Argument'' to the Gospel of St. John. fol. 19 V
Plate IV. The Evangelical Symbols. Fol. 27 V.
Plate V. Portrait of St. Matthew
Plate VI. The Opening Words of St. Matthew's Gospel. Fol. 29 R.
Plate VII. Portrait of St. Mark or St. Luke. Fol. 32 V
Plate VIII. The Eight-Circled Cross. Fol. 33 R
Plate IX. The Monogram Page. Fol. 34 R.
Plate X. A Page of the Text. Fol. 104 R
Plate XI. Tunc Crucifixerent XPI Cum Os latrones. Fol. 124 R
Plate XII. The Evangelical Symbols. Fol. 129 V
Plate XIII. The Opening Words of St. Mark's Gospel. Fol. 130 R
Plate XIV. The Opening Word of St. Luke's Gospel. Fol. 188 R
Plate XV. The Genealogy of Christ. Fol. 200 R.
Plate XVI. The Genealogy—continued. Fol. 200 V
Plate XVII. The Genealogy—continued. Fol. 201 R
Plate XVIII. Portrait of St. John. Fol. 291 V.
Plate XIX. The Opening Words of St. John's Gospel. Fol. 292 R
Plate XX. Compound Letters
Plate XXI. Compound Letters
Plate XXII. Compound Letters
Plate XXIII. Compound Letters
Plate XXIV. Compound Letters