The Ridington Room in the Music, Art and Architecture (MAA) Library at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has added a new permanent installation that will be of interest to anyone with a penchant for medieval illuminated manuscripts. The Book of Kells facsimile, which was acquired by UBC Library’s Rare Book & Special Collections in 1990, had previously been housed in UBC Library’s Vault, but now resides in a secure, purpose-built display case, accessible to the UBC community.
The original Book of Kells, which is held on permanent display at Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland, is a 9th Century manuscript documenting the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin. Named after the Abbey of Kells, where it was kept for centuries before moving to Trinity College, the manuscript is divided into four volumes.
UBC Library’s facsimile of the Book of Kells was produced by Swiss publisher Faksimile-Verlag Luzern in 1979 using cutting edge technology of the time to photograph the original pages and produce a limited run of exact copies. UBC Library’s copy, no. 349, is accompanied by a presentation book from Vancouver’s Book of Kells Committee, which formed in 1987 in order to purchase the item through donor support. The original Book of Kells Committee consisted of 14 members who together raised $16,000 from 340 local donors. A plaque attached to the display case celebrates those who offered their support.
The Book of Kells is available to view during the MAA Library’s regular hours of operation. Check the website to find out more.