You are in Introduction. Click here to skip the navigation.
British Library
Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
About Simple search Manuscript search Advanced search  Virtual exhibitions Glossaries Contact us  Main
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
 
 
     
 

Illuminated manuscripts: a guide to the British Library’s collections

Introduction Foundation collections Closed collections

The open-ended collections

Two principal collections of manuscripts are still growing: Additional and Egerton.

Additional     Top top

The Additional manuscripts were established with the Sloane collection, and consequently the numeric sequence picks up where Sloane finishes, with Add. 4101. Miscellaneous in nature, the Additional collection includes volumes acquired by gift, bequest and purchase since 1756. Its holdings of Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts are extensive and varied, stretching from late Antiquity to the early modern period. The Additional collection includes illuminated manuscripts from the breadth of Europe, from Russia and Byzantium and the near east; Italy, Iberia, and even North Africa in the south; Ireland in the west, and Scandinavian countries in the north.

The sequence includes manuscripts acquired singly, and also those that came in groups. Significant groups of manuscripts include the library of Samuel Butler, Bishop of Lichfield, which comprises Add. 11828-12117; the bequest of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (Add. 35310-35324); and the bequest of William Burges (Add. 31830-11845).

Catalogue

*Most Catalogues are available on the Manuscripts On-Line Catalogue.

Add. 4101-5017: Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1757-1782 (London, 1977).

Add. 5140-8167: catalogue of medieval manuscripts in this sequence only available on the Manuscripts On-Line Catalogue or in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

NB: Additional manuscripts acquired since the 1830s are described in a series of published catalogues that are available on the Manuscripts On-Line Catalogue.

Add. 40618, f.21v
Gospel Book. Ireland, c.750-800.
Add. 40618, f.21v


Add. 27926, f.28
Gospels of St John and St Luke. Germany (probably Heiningen Abbey, near Hildesheim), c.1175-1200.
Add. 27926, f.28


Add. 15268, f.103 (detail)
Histoire universelle. Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Acre), 1286-1291.
Add. 15268, f.103 (detail)


Egerton.    Top top

In 1829 Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater, bequeathed to the British Museum 67 manuscripts and £12,000 to establish the Bridgewater Fund for purchasing manuscripts. In 1838 his cousin, Charles Long, Baron Farnborough, established the Farnborough Fund with a bequest of £3000 to supplement the Egerton collection further. In the 175 years since its foundation, the fund has purchased more than 3800 manuscripts.

Like the Additional collection, the Egerton manuscripts are miscellaneous in nature. It has particular strengths in manuscripts of Irish and Spanish interest, and is distinguished in its holdings of literary and illuminated manuscripts.

Catalogue

‘Catalogue of the Egerton Manuscripts, nos. 1-606’, unpublished (available for consultation in the Manuscripts Reading Room; *not available on the Manuscripts On-Line Catalogue

From Egerton 607 on, the Egertons have been catalogued with the Additional manuscripts and *are available on the Manuscripts On-Line Catalogue

Further Reading

A Guide to the Exhibition of some part of the Egerton Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1929).

Egerton 608, f. 88
Gospels. Germany (Echternach, c.1050).
Egerton 608, f. 88


Egerton 1139, f. 5v
Psalter of Queen Melisende. Jerusalem, 1131-1143.
Egerton 1139, f. 5v




Introduction Foundation collections Closed collections
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
top Back