The Book of Kells Store

The Book of Kells is probably the single most recognized medieval manuscript. This c. 800 copy of the Latin text of the foru gospels contains gorgeous illuminations by of Irish (and probably also Scottish) monks. The manuscript is now preserved in the library of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Kells has touched a chord in us for almost a thousand years now, influencing art in many ways. It’s probably the single most recognized medieval manuscript in the world, and it might as well be “the work of angels.”

Books about The Book Of Kells

Bernard Meehan. The Book of Kells.  Thames & Hudson, 2012. ISBN: 978-0500238943.
The text is by Bernard Meehan, the Keeper of Manuscripts at Trinity College Library, where Kells lives. There are 250 illustrations, 230 of them in color, with both full page reproductions and many enlarged details. The text is the most complete and accurate up-to-date discussion of the manuscript, including its history and manufacture. This is currently the best study of and introduction to The Book of Kells, by the leading authority. It’s a beautifully produced and designed 256 page hard cover book, with a slipcase and ribbon marker, and over 200 color illustrations, many of them showing detailed enlargements. At the time of this posting, the price was $61.64. There’s a link on the Amazon page to a Kindle edition; it’s not the same book, and it’s not worth $1.99.

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Bernard Meehan. The Book of Kells: An Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin. Thames & Hudson; 2 edition, 1995. ISBN-13: 978-0500277904.
Until recently, this slim full-color paperback was the best available introduction to The Book of Kells. Bernard Meehan, the author of this book, recently published a complete facsimile, complete with full color plates and a handsome box. But this is still quite lovely, with 110 high quality color plates showing both full pages and enlarged details.
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Celtic Design Resources and Coloring Books

George Bain. Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. Series: Dover Art Instruction. Dover Publications, 1 edition, 1973. ISBN-13: 978-0880297837.
This is the standard book for learning how to create Celtic or Hiberno-Saxon designs.  The basic instruction method involves showing how a design or knot is constructed and then showing you a series of steps to construct it. The focus in on various kinds of knots and interlace, but the book includes over 225 different patterns, many with modification suggestions, 110 historical and modern artifacts showing the designs in use, six complete alphabets and 25 decorative initials, and a number of animal and human figures derived from medieval examples. There are spiral bound copies out there, and those are a little easier to use.

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 Celtic Design Coloring Books | Celtic Coloring Books for Adults

Celtic Patterns: The Book of Kells & Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: Coloring Pages for Kids and Kids at Heart. Hands-On Art History series. Hands-On Art History, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1942778189.

23 coloring pages derived from  the Book of Kells and similar manuscripts, including Celtic “carpet page” full page designs, and illuminated letters, people, animals,  and other marginal decorations.  These would work for adults or older children with an interest in Celtic design; this book might be appropriate for home-schooling use in the context of social culture, history, or art history.

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Marty Noble. Color Your Own Book of Kells. Series: Dover Art Coloring Book. Dover Publications, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0486418650. 28 full-page black-and-white reproductions of the Book of Kells designs. Images to color include borders filled with abstract Celtic spirals and interlacements, celestial figures, images of saints, members of the Holy Family, as well as Celtic crosses and other finely detailed floral, animal, human, and fantastic elements drawn from details and the margins.

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Ed Sibbett Jr. Celtic Design Coloring Book. Series: Dover Design Coloring Books. Dover Publications, 1979. ISBN-13: 978-0486237961.

Graphic artist Ed Sibbett offers 37 drawings derived from illustrations in the Book of Durrow, the Gospels of St. Willibrord, and the Book of Kells, three manuscripts featureing the Celtic interlace or Hiberno-Saxon style. Among the motifs in this collection feature the characteristic Celtic interlace, geometric-animal combinations, and decorative initials, knots and other ornaments and symbolic abstractions of animals and people, including details drawn from marginal art. A portrait of St. Matthew appears as a two-page spread that may be removed, colored, and mounted. Captions identify the source of each picture and explain the iconography, though the explanations are not always as hard-and-fast as Sibbett suggests.

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The Book of Kells Video | DVD

The Secret of Kells. Directed by Tomm Moore. This is a beautifully made French-Belgian-Irish animated film meant for children; it features the creation of The Book of Kells from the point of view of Brendan, young boy living at the monastery. There are some scary moments, so you might want to watch it first before sharing with a young child. The Secret of Kells was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2009. It’s available in multiple video formats.

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Stationary, Jewlery and Gifts Inspired by The Book of Kells

The Book of Kells: Notecard Box (Thames & Hudson Gift)
20 notecards and envelopes with designs derived from The Book of Kells. These are small notecards, not greeting cards. The reproduction quality of the art is high, and the paper is good quality and will happily accept most fountain pen inks, as well as other pens.

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The Book of Kells: Animal Notecards (Thames and Hudson Gift). ISBN-13: 978-0500420485.

16 notecards and envelopes featuring a selection of animals from the Book of Kells. The reproductions are high quality; four designs, are included.

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The Book of Kells: Postcards (Thames & Hudson Gift)
30 postcards featuring art from The Book of Kells. ISBN-13: 978-0500420256.

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The Book of Kells: 5-Year Journal (Thames & Hudson Gift). ISBN-13: 978-0500420218.
This five-year journal has ruled white pages with color details, and a ribbon maker. It’s 5.9 x 1.2 x 7.4 inches; so roughly A5 in size, and fairly thick.
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The Book of Kells: Mini Notebooks: Set of 3 (Thames & Hudson Gift). ISBN-13: 978-0500420232.
This set of 3 soft-cover mini notebooks (4.3 in x 5.9 in x 0.8 in) have a total of 192 pp. of ruled white paper.
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The Book of Kells: Set of 3 Notebooks (Thames and Hudson Gift). ISBN-13: 978-0500420225.

Three 5.9 x 0.7 inch notebooks, with soft covers featuring three different pages from the book of Kells. Each notebook has rules white pages, with a total page count of 192 pages.

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