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Italian Manuscripts

Date range: 14th–19th centuries.

75 items, mostly literary, historical, genealogical and musical works.

Notable are:

  • a highly important and finely illuminated manuscript of the Canzoni of Dante and of Petrarch’s Rime, written in the second half of the fourteenth century for Lorenzo di Carlo Strozzi, a member of one of the leading noble families of Florence (Italian ms 1)
  • a late fourteenth-century copy of the Fioretti of St Francis and of the Legend of St Clare, once belonging to the Franciscan nuns of Fabriano (Italian ms 51)
  • four manuscripts of Dante’s Divina Commedia, including one of the earliest dated manuscripts, written in 1416 by Bartholomew Landi de Landis and bearing extensive contemporary glosses (Italian ms 49), and another fine fifteenth-century example (Italian ms 2)
  • a copy of Guido da Pisa’s Istorie Antiche, written around 1472 and in a contemporary binding (Italian ms 3)
  • a richly illuminated fifteenth-century manuscript of the Scala del Paradiso of St John Climacus (Italian ms 4)
  • a mid fifteenth-century humanist manuscript of Somma sopra e sette peccati mortali by St Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence (Italian ms 53)
  • a group of manuscripts relating to the great Florentine reformer Fra Girolamo Savonarola (Italian mss 7–11, 13, 30, etc.)

There are also documents concerning Florence, Venice, Bologna and other cities, and records relating to the Medici, Strozzi and Orsini families.

See also the Medici Records.

Finding aids

  • M. Tyson, 'Handlist of the Collections of French and Italian Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 14 (1930), pp. 563-628.
  • N.R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, III, Lampeter - Oxford (Oxford, 1983), pp. 458-64.


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