Book of Kells, Facsimile Edition

Collection Guide


Limited edition fine art facsimile of The Book of Kells (circa 800 AD), one of the world’s most famous illuminated manuscripts. The original manuscript can be seen in Dublin, Ireland at the Trinity College Library.
Charles J. Buckley and his estate
Fine Art Facsimile Publishers of Switzerland
Date Range
1 volume

Access and Use

Digital Access

No digital access is currently available for materials in this collection.

Physical Access

The facsimile is periodically on exhibit in a rare book exhibit case in the Reading Room of the University Archives and McHugh Special Collections. The book can also be examined by appointment when it is not on exhibit.


Items in the University of Scranton Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections may be made available to visiting researchers to support research, scholarship, education, and private study under an assertion of fair use (17 U.S.C. 107). The University of Scranton respects the intellectual property rights of others and does not claim any copyright interest in these materials. It is your responsibility to determine the ownership and status of copyright in any materials you may wish to use beyond fair use, and obtain the permission of the copyright owner, if needed. Individuals or organizations holding additional information about the copyright status of items in this collection are invited to contact the University Archives staff at

Preferred Citation

Lindisfarne Gospels, Facsimile Edition, McHugh Special Collections, The University of Scranton.

Linked Data


Administrative/Biographical History

Only 1480 copies of this facsimile of the original Book of Kells were produced by the Fine Art Facsimile Publishers of Switzerland. The facsimile is owned by some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States, such as New York’s Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The facsimile edition took ten years to produce, and is considered to be indistinguishable from the original, under museum viewing conditions. The pages of the facsimile are identical in size and shape to the original manuscript pages. This accuracy extends to duplicating any damage and holes that appear in the original. The surface appearance of the paper is as close as possible to the condition of the original, although it does not feel like the original vellum.

Of most importance to the viewer, however, is the impeccable color reproduction of the photographs. A special photographic book cradle had to be manufactured to hold the original safely. Kodak Ektachrome color transparencies were color corrected electronically, then passed to a lithographer who made additional color corrections by hand using as many as ten printing inks per page. As the lithographer perfected the color balance, examples of the pages were compared with the original to fine-tune the color.

After the pages were duplicated they were sewn into gatherings hand-bound in a white skin, a book construction similar to the original. Since the original bindings were lost, the decision was made to use a conservative white skin binding rather than speculate on the color and design of the original. The final product is 9.5 x 13 inches and weighs 20 pounds. An elaborate presentation box with gold and silver embossing was also designed using decorative elements from the original Book of Kells.

Scope and Content Note

Four gospels reassembled into one volume measuring 9.5 x 13 inches and weighing 20 pounds.

Acquisition Information

Through the generosity of late Charles J. Buckley and his estate, the University of Scranton Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections are fortunate to own a limited edition fine art facsimile of this masterpiece. Buckley, who died February 24, 1996, was a dean emeritus and had served the University in a variety of academic and administrative positions for 46 years.