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Sloane Manuscripts

Part of the great collection of manuscripts and artefacts gathered by the physician Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) and purchased at his death from his executors by the Act of Parliament which also established the British Museum.

1 - 4100 (Additional MSS 5018-5027, 5214-5308 are from Sloane's collection, but are described as Additional MSS).

Themes of these several thousand manuscript volumes include medicine, alchemy, chemistry, botany and horticulture, exploration and travel, mathematics and natural history, magic and religion. They include what has been described as the greatest collection of medical manuscripts ever made by a single individual, not just in quantity and variety but in the exceptional quality of individual items. Highlights include a finely illuminated early 14th century copy of the `Chirurgia’ of Roger Frugardi of Parma, manuscripts of Sloane’s contemporaries and immediate predecessors in the scientific community, John Dee, Sir Thomas Browne, Robert Hooke and Sir Isaac Newton, and contemporary records of exploration in both hemispheres, from Nova Scotia to the East Indies and the South Seas.


S. Ayscough, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the British Museum (London, 1782), 2 vols. Arranged by subject

E. J. L. Scott, Index to the Sloane manuscripts in the British Museum (London, 1904).