The Library of Trinity College Dublin, in partnership with the Department of History of Art and Architecture, has received generous support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project to fund an exciting project focused on four of the most important early medieval insular Gospel Books in the Library.
This blog will tell you all about these manuscripts and will keep you posted on our progress and discoveries.
The manuscripts in question are :
- Codex Usserianus Primus, 5th or 7th century (TCD MS 55)
- the Book of Dimma, late 8th century (TCD MS 59)
- the Book of Mulling, 2nd half of the 8th century (TCD MS 60)
- the Garland of Howth, 8th-9th century (TCD MS 56)
We will be looking at them from many different angles. The TCD conservation team will focus on preservation and technical examination, including non-destructive pigment analysis. Their findings will complement recent results achieved for the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Armagh, using micro-Raman spectroscopy.
Two of the manuscripts (Dimma and Mulling) are sitting rather uncomfortably in their mid-20th-century bindings, so this will be addressed in the conservation treatment, along with a close examination of their codicological structure.
The manuscripts will also be studied from an art historical perspective, the Garland of Howth in particular has barely been researched, so this should lead to significant discoveries.
And last but not least, they will be fully digitised and accessible online, so that everyone can have a chance to turn their pages.