Celtic Art Bibliography I

While I hammer out the details on my post or posts regarding Historiography, in which I try and engage your attention without missing the best parts, enjoy my first post of books I used to create this series.

In my earliest college days, I had a brief and ultimately unsuccessful brush with journalism. I believe that the only influence that remains from this dalliance is my personal library catalog. I group the majority of my books into five broad categories: who, what, when, where and how.

‘Who’ represents my collection of spiritual and religious books. It also encompasses fairie tales, mythology, poetry, plays, and books that are about specific people such as St. Patrick or Eamonn DeValera.

‘What’ is the largest section, covering books about things. Artifacts. Manuscripts. Stuff. These are my picture books and photo references. Many are obtained from museums and the gift shops next to the old forts and tombs. It includes books about Celtic art ITEMS as seen in museums and my tidy collection of facsimile manuscripts as well as photo books on Northern Ireland‘s sectarian murals.

‘When’ is the section of history and context. It isn’t as large as the rest of the sections as many of my books of history are divvied up into other specific sections of ‘Where’ and ‘What’. Here you will find general books on the world of the Celts and the history of the early Christian church. Books on Christian religion are under ‘Who.’

‘Where’ includes my travel stuff, geography, atlases and hardcore archaeology books. Anything that places art into a physical context. Where is it? I have books on regional archaeology, traveling through the Burren and illustrated maps of the Irish west coast. Historic travelogues are in the ‘When’ collection, current travel books are here.

‘How’ is, of course, my collection of actual construction books. It is more than just George Bain’s book on the construction of Celtic Art. Here I have books on geometry, perspective, and the concept of Notan, the balance of light and dark compositional elements. I have books on proportion and the design underlying the manuscript pages of the Book of Kells. J. Romilly Allen is here, as are Aidan Meehan, DaVinci and Pythagoras.

I have a lot of books to share, and I will occasionally comment on specific books and their usefulness or lack of usefulness. To start, I will include the titles and authors. Hopefully, as I go along, I can flesh out the details of publishers and costs. If you want that sort of info up front for any given book, drop me a line and I’ll go into more detail.


Barry Cunliffe
1) The Extraordinary Voyage of Pythias the Greek; the man who discovered Britain
2) The Celtic World

Vincent Byrne
A Thousand Years of the Hidden Annals of the Kingdom of Connacht: 366-1385AD

David Willis McCullough
The Wars of the Irish Kings: from the age of myth through the reign of Queen Elizabeth I

Peter Berresford Ellis
The Ancient World of the Celts

Simon James
The Celts

J.G. Davies
The Early Christian Church

William Hellier Baily
Rambles on the Irish Coast

Editors Bill Rolston and David Miller
War and Words: The Northern Ireland Media Reader

I think there are a few more in a stack in the studio. A lot of these books are large, and I don’t have a lot of space, thus they will tend to float about. I’ll gather them up and add to the Bibliography page as I go.



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