Thursday, 5 January 2017

Illuminated Manuscripts


Hay bought me a marvelous book for Christmas - Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts, by Christipher de Hamel. Heartily recommended for any with an interest in medieval manuscripts or simply the beauty of medieval calligraphy. A really entertaining and educational read, although I'm not even half way through yet.

On the back of it I bought Sir Edward Sullivan's The Book of Kells on Amazon (1927 edition), which allegedly has superb colour plates at the back, although I may unbind it in order to frame some of them (at £9.80, I can afford to do that, although it will be next week before I receive it and determine the state of the plates). I would have liked the original 1914 edition, given those plates will be over a century old themselves, but, at around a grand, it's out of my price range.

These are copies of some of the insular illuminated capitals (as the Irish ones were called) in The Book of Kells, drawn by Helen Campbell d'Olier. 


It  beats me why British people cover themselves in Pacific island tribal tattoos when these from closer to home are simply stunning. However, that said, recreating the sheen of gold on a tattoo just ain't possible - yet.

In my late 20s I bought an italic nibbed fountain pen and learned a form of gothic script, using it for all my logbook entries aboard ship. The captain was so impressed that he bought one himself, but he just couldn't get the knack and his entries were almost indecipherable. I haven't done it for decades though, although reading this book might stimulate me back into writing real letters, rather than just typing.


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