DUFT, Johannes & MEYER, Peter. The Irish Miniatures in the Abbey Library of St. Gall.
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With 19 plates in colour and 24 in mono. Berne: Urs Graf-Verlag, 1954. Large quarto. Bound in full pigskin with Celtic design blind tooling. Edition limited to 600 copies. A very good copy. Very rare.
St. Gall in Switzerland takes its name from the Irish saint, the companion of St. Columbanus, who remained behind and established a hermitage there in 612, when Columbanus moved on to Milan and Bobbio. St. Gall was a native of Leinster and of the same lineage as St. Brigid of Kildare. The great abbey that grew up at St. Gall continued to have links with Ireland and to be a regular stopping place for the early Irish pilgrim on his journey to Rome. Some of them presented manuscripts to the abbey and in the 9th century there was a special section of the library for books in Irish script.
This fine publication with 19 plates in full colour and 23 in black and white contains a representative selection of what survives today. This includes all the main illuminations of the well known St. Gall Gospels, which may have been among the books donated by the Irish Bishop, Marcus, who abandoned his return journey to Ireland in order to spend his last years in the abbey. His nephew Marcellus joined the community and in the middle of the 9th century, he was head of its famous school.
This volume also contains a splendid introduction by the librarian, J. Duft setting out the history and character of the collection with a detailed study of the illuminations by P. Meyer.
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