• Cover of Bernard Meehan's The Book of Kells An Introduction
    Medieval manuscripts

    The Book of Kells: Two Works, Two Scribes

    Dr. Bernard Meehan of Trinity College, Dublin, the leading scholar regarding The Book of Kells, has, via new research, concluded that Kells was originally two separate works, created up to half a century apart on the islands of Kells and Iona. Meehan theorizes that the Gospel of John and the first few pages of Mark were created by a scribe on the Scottish island of Iona sometime during the last quarter of the eighth century. He suggests that the remainder of The Gospel of Mark and the Kells texts of the Gospels of Luke and  Matthew were created up to 50 years later in the Irish monastery of Kells itself. Handwriting evidence suggests…

  • Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

    February from the Da Costa Hours

    There are times when it’s very clear that the weather in Europe in the late fifteenth century is not the weather in 21st century New England. This February calendar image from the Morgan Library’s  Da Costa Hours (the work of Simon Bening) shows workers in a vineyard. In the foreground one man is trimming a grape vine with a knife, while just behind him a second man is tying a vine to a pole. To his left in the forefront a third worker is breaking ground with a pick axe, with a shovel ready at hand on the ground. You’ll notice that the landscape looks like early spring, with no snow…