Columba, Illuminator

(fl. ? 7th Century)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

The scribe and illuminator of the Book of Durrow, one of the earliest examples of the illuminated manuscripts of Ireland, formerly identified with St. Columba. At the close of the first and apparently oldest part of the book is the note: "I pray thy blessedness, O holy presbyter, Patrick, that whosoever shall take this book into his hands may remember the writer, Columba, who have myself written this Gospel in the space of twelve days by the grace of our Lord." The book, which dates probably from the end of the seventh century, was preserved at Durrow in the King's County, where St. Columba had founded a monastery in 546, and is now in the Library of Trinity College. The illuminated work, though inferior in variety and ingenuity of design to that in the Book or Kells, which stands unique among the manuscripts of the world, is in its simplicity and restraint perhaps more satisfactory as an actual work of art.

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