This collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts features a number of important items, including Leonardi da Vinci’s notebook.
About the collection
Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, amassed what stands as the first major British art collection, which included painting, sculpture, and manuscripts. In 1666 his grandson, Henry Howard, divided the collection between the Royal Society and the College of Arms. In 1831 the British Museum purchased the Royal Society’s share of more than 500 manuscripts.
The collection is ordered by shelfmarks running from Arundel MS 1 to Arundel MS 446.
What is available online?
A list of many of the Arundel manuscripts can be browsed and many are described in detail in the online catalogue, Explore Archives and Manuscripts. Images from some of the manuscripts can be found on the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
The Arundel collection of manuscripts is available for consultation in the Manuscripts Reading Room.
Some items may require a letter of recommendation.
- Catalogue of Manuscripts in the British Museum, New Series, vol. I, part 1, The Arundel Manuscripts (London, 1834). Bound and indexed jointly with the Burney MSS in part 3
- Hervey, Mary F. S., The Life, Correspondence and Collections of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (Cambridge, 1921)
- Howarth, David, Lord Arundel and His Circle (New Haven, 1985)
- Springell, Francis C., Connoisseur and Diplomat: The Earl of Arundel’s Embassy to Germany in 1636 as recounted in William Crowne’s Diary, the Earl’s letters, and other contemporary sources... (London, 1963).