The Leabhar na hAiséirghe, or Book of Resurrection, is an unfinished Celtic Revival manuscript intended to be a memorial for those who died in the Irish struggle for independence, specifically the Easter Rising of 1916. It was the work of Irish artist Art O’Murnaghan (1875-1953). O’Murnaghan worked on the manuscript from the early 1920s until the end of his life, with some interruptions, but had only completed 26 pages before his death. They are now on display in the National Museum of Ireland’s permanent exhibition on The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916.
The Leabhar na hAiséirghe was made with traditional materials and methods and utilizing the traditional Celtic stylistic vocabulary. It would not look out of place next to the Book of Kells or the Book of Durrow, yet it is a completely original, modern work of O’Murnaghan’s own creation.
O’Murnaghan was the last ‘Celtic’ artist who actually understood his models and was able to ‘think’ in their vocabulary. He did not copy the ancient models, he assimilated them in a new style, without artificiality and in excellent taste.
Image: The signatories page from the ‘Book of the Resurrection’ featuring the names of the seven men who signed the 1916 Proclamation