Dimma Macnathi, Illuminator

(fl. 7th century)


From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

In the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, is a copy of the four Gospels, known as "Dimma's Book," written for St. Cronan of Roscrea, it is supposed in the seventh century. Coloured figures of the first three Evangelists precede their Gospels, and the symbol of an eagle is prefixed to that of St. John. The name of the artist-scribe appears at the end of each Gospel, "Dimma MacNathi." The book belonged to the Abbey of Roscrea and disappeared at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. It was found, with its shrine, by some boys hunting rabbits in the rocks of the Devil's Bit Mountain in 1789, and after passing through several hands, it was finally purchased for Trinity College. Its cumdach, or shrine, is formed of bronze plated with silver and partly gilt and studded with lapis lazuli with a large crystal in the centre of one side. It was made about 1150, and is inscribed "Thomas the artist arranged this reliquary."

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