Tag Archives: mounting

Re-mounting Codex Usserianus Primus

As we stressed in our  previous post, the binding and mounting system adopted in the late 19th or early 20th century to accommodate the folio fragments of Codex Usserianus Primus (TCD MS 55) proved  unsuitable over time. The main problem was that the card in which the fragments had been pasted resisted the natural curling movement of the vellum, causing strain on the already fragile leaves.

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Fig. 1 Codex Usserianus Primus, TCD MS 55, f. 25r © The Board of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. 2015.

The binding was thus removed and it was decided that each fragment should be released from its buckling card mount in order to be re-mounted in a manner which would improve its preservation. The following method was adopted. Continue reading Re-mounting Codex Usserianus Primus

Usserianus Primus and its Modern Binding

The fragments of Codex Usserianus Primus (see previous post for background) were, until a few years ago, kept in a late 19th- or early 20th-century binding (fig. 1). Unfortunately, we have no recorded description of how the manuscript was kept prior to this.

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Fig. 1 Former binding of TCD MS 55, late 19th or early 20th century © The Board of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. 2015.

The binding, quite elaborate, was covered in a greenish -brown  Morocco goatskin, Continue reading Usserianus Primus and its Modern Binding

Codex Usserianus Primus

I will start by introducing you to the four manuscripts which are the focus of the project.

Codex Usserianus Primus (TCD MS 55), containing the four Gospels, is a controversial citizen of the Library, as scholars do not  agree on when it was made, and the where  is also much debated. One might say  that this is true of nearly  all  Insular manuscripts, but this particular one is a case in point in that expert opinions differ by several  centuries.

Codex Usserianus Primus, TCD MS 55, f. 149v © The Board of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. 2015.

For a long time believed to have been made in the early 7th century in Ireland or  Bobbio, the abbey founded in  614 by the Irish missionary Columbanus, David Dumville has more recently argued in favour of a 5th-century date and a continental origin. 1 The dating and localisation of the manuscript are largely based on  palaeographical and codicological evidence, as  the manuscript, in a fragmentary state, only contains one extant decoration in the shape of a framed cross marking the end of Saint Luke’s Gospel and the beginning of Saint Mark’s (see fig.).

The modern mounts were far from satisfying: too heavy, they obscure certain parts of the text, and do not allow the parchment enough flexibility. Each one of the 182 leaves is  therefore currently being remounted in our Conservation studios using a system which will greatly improve the manuscript’s preservation and legibility.  The manuscript  has now been fully re-photographed and published online.

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