The 15th and 16th centuries saw an outburst of scholarly interest in Greek literature in western Europe. The arrival of the printing press meant a desire to gather manuscripts of a wide range of Greek authors in order to publish them. Henri Estienne (in Latin, Henricus Stephanus) printed many of these texts, including a landmark edition of Greek lyric poetry in 1560. Burney 61 clearly bears some relation to this edition, as it contains a similar arrangement and text. It is unclear, however, whether the manuscript is a copy of the printed edition or predates it.

It can be dated to the 2nd half of the 16th century, and the hand is French. It was acquired by Charles Burney (1757–1817) at the sale of the library of the bookseller James Edwards (1757–1816). Burney’s vast collection of manuscripts, theatrical ephemera, and newspapers was acquired by the British Museum after his death in 1818.