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Western (European) Manuscripts

Date range: 7th-19th centuries

Number of items:

Among the Western manuscripts are over 500 medieval codices, including outstanding examples of calligraphy and illumination in books of hours, psalters and other devotional works. Most are in Latin, but fine illuminations also appear in English, French, Greek and Italian texts.

There are numerous items from important monastic and other centres of manuscript production, among them Bremen, Erfurt, Essen, Luxeuil, Murbach, Trier and Weissenau. There are also many secular works including cartularies, royal wardrobe books and chronicles.

Post-medieval material has a strong emphasis on literary papers, as well as antiquarian collections, socio-historical material, and personal correspondence and papers. There are many original bindings, medieval jewelled book covers, and ivory carvings.

There are major collections of manuscripts in English, French, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Latin and Spanish, with smaller collections or individual items in Bulgarian, Dutch, Hungarian, Icelandic, Mexican, Portuguese, Romanian, the Slavonic languages and Welsh.

See also:

Further Information:

  • For further information on the individual manuscript collections, please follow the links above.
  • Medieval manuscripts (but excluding the vast majority of Latin manuscripts) are catalogued in detail in N. R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, III, Lampeter - Oxford (Oxford, 1983), pp. 393-470. Copy available via Special Collections reading rooms.