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Meanwhile, the intricate embellishment of the holy manuscript would be undertaken by experienced scribes and artist-monks.

It was painstaking work, with elaborate illuminations requiring weeks to complete.

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Viking raids and freezing temperatures turned the making of these Celtic Christian artworks into an arduous, sometimes dangerous activity.

Religious art of this type was decorated to varying degrees and in varying styles, and displays a wide variety of colour combinations.

To praise the word of God and to help educate and inspire the monasteries' growing flock of Christian converts these books had to be made as beautiful as possible.

However, producing an illustrated book during the medieval era of the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth centuries was no easy feat.

The more accomplished of them might be permitted to paint basic designs, or to lay gold leaf.