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Manuscripts: Papyri, Medieval and Renaissance: Papyri, charters and collections

Papyri, charters and rolls

Language-based shelfmarks

In July 1887 E. W. B. Nicholson, Bodley's Librarian, introduced a new classification for miscellaneous accessions of manuscripts, which is based primarily on language. The classification, with a few subsequent modifications, is as listed below.

The largest language-groups, those of English, Latin, and Greek, were divided by subject-matter: bib(les), lett(ers), etc. In each language and subdivision there were size divisions from a-g (a=over 20" tall; b=15"-20"; c=12"-15"; d=9"-12"; e=7"-9"; f=5"-7"; g=5" or less).

The complete shelfmark consists of the classification followed by the size letter and running number, e.g. 'MS. Lat. bib. f. 1'. For rolls, '(R)' is added at the end, and for papyri, or other manuscripts framed between sheets of glass, '(P)' is added, e.g. 'MS. Lat. misc. a. 1 (R)', 'MS. Lat. class. c. 3 (P)'.

  • Basque
  • Corn. (Cornish)
  • Dutch
  • Fr. (French)
  • Eng. (English
    • bib. (bibles)
    • hist. (history)
    • lett. (letters)
    • liturg. (liturgies)
    • misc. (miscellaneous)
    • poet. (poetry)
    • th. (theology)
  • Germ. (German)
  • Gr. (Greek
    • bib. (bibles)
    • class. (classics)
    • liturg. (liturgies)
    • misc. (miscellaneous)
    • th. (theology)
  • Icel. (Icelandic)
  • Ir. (Irish)
  • Ital. (Italian
  • Lat. (Latin
    • bib. (bibles
    • class. (classics
    • hist. (history
    • liturg. (liturgies
    • misc. (miscellaneous) 
    • th. (theology
  • Mex. (Mexican)
  • Manx
  • Port. (Portuguese)
  • Russ. (Russian)
  • Span. (Spanish
  • Welsh

Named collections

Brief historical accounts of the Library's named collections containing medieval material are available here. See also the descriptions of Rare Books Named Collections.

MSS. Buchanan - detailed introduction

[from P. Kidd, Catalogue of the medieval and renaissance manuscripts c.1300-c.1500 from the collection of T. R. Buchanan in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (2000)]

Thomas Ryburn Buchanan (1846-1911): a biographical note

T. R. Buchanan was born in 1846, third son of John Buchanan, of Patrick Hill, Glasgow; of a family who claimed descent from George Buchanan (1506-82), the Scottish historian and scholar1. He was first educated locally, then at Sherborne School, whence he came up to Balliol College, Oxford, in 1865. Here he had a distinguished academic career: in 1868 he won the Stanhope Prize Essay2, and gained a First Class in classical and mathematical moderations; the following year he gained a First Class in 'Greats'; and in 1871 he was elected to a Fellowship at All Souls College, where he was Librarian of the Codrington Library, just a few paces from the Bodleian, from 1878 until 1882. During his Librarianship, he was responsible for the publication of Bookbinding in the Library of All Souls College: twelve plates drawn by John James Wild, Ph.D. (1880)3 , 'the first book to call attention to the wealth of fine bindings in Oxford libraries'4. (It has been stated that his interest in illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, and fine bindings dates from this period, but this interest seems to have been fostered considerably earlier by his uncle and his father). In 1881 he entered parliament as MP for Edinburgh, and remained an MP for most of the rest of his life; he became Finacial Secretary to the War Office in 1906, and Under Secretary of State for India, and Privy Councillor, in 19085. He retired in 1909 due to ill health, and died in 1911, aged 65. The twin interests of his adult life, politics and books, are compared in an obituary which states that 'He was indeed a genuine lover of books, and his knowledge in this department was highly appreciated by Mr. Coxe, the Librarian of Bodley. In fact, at one time he had thoughts of becoming a candidate for a vacant Sub-Librarianship; but politics had always possessed for him a strong attraction.6 '


The Buchanan collection at the Bodleian Library consists of twenty-four medieval illuminated manuscripts dating from before about the mid-16th century, described in this catalogue; a further seventeen later manuscripts, previously catalogued in Mary Clapinson and T. D. Rogers, Summary catalogue of post-medieval western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, acquisitions 1916-1975 (SC 37300-55936) (3 vols., Oxford, 1991), I, nos. 37931-48.; and over five hundred volumes of printed books7. The books were all in the collection of Thomas Ryburn Buchanan, and were given to the Library in two consignments by his widow, Mrs Emily Octavia Buchanan, in 1939 and 1941, as will be described below.

The collection may owe its nucleus to the art collections of Buchanan's uncle, also called Thomas, who seems to have owned at least two of the fifteen Books of Hours given in 19398; and it is probable that Buchanan's father bought the other thirteen. These fifteen form a coherent group in so far as they are all later medieval illuminated Books of Hours, of which more than half are French and date from the 15th or early 16th century.

If these volumes did indeed belong originally to Buchanan's uncle and father, as I shall suggest below, it is interesting to see what the remaining books tell us about Buchanan's own taste: they considerably widen the scope of the collection. As well as another two Books of Hours, one of them in Dutch, and what is probably a fragment of a Book of Hours, he added three Italian humanistic texts, a Bridgettine Breviary, a Milanese Breviary, a ferial Psalter, and a Psalter of c.1300. Significantly, some of these do not contain very extensive decoration, but five are in their original bindings, and the binding of another is very unusual9 -the printed books in the collection clearly demonstrate the extent to which bindings were one of Buchanan's main interests. Another contrast that may be drawn between the manuscripts he probably inherited, and those he bought himself, is in the prices paid: we know that Buchanan's uncle paid the equivalent of £52 for three volumes c.1857, and either his uncle or father paid £105 for four more in 1862, yet it seems that Buchanan himself rarely paid more than £15 for any book, frequently much less, even thirty years later10.

The two donations of Buchanan manuscripts, in 1939 and 1941

A few words need to be said about the way in which the Bodleian received Buchanan's manuscripts, in order to clarify some of what follows, and to explain the change in the shelfmarks of some of them.

The correspondence concerning the Buchanan Collection begins on 9 July 1939, with war imminent, when Mrs Buchanan wrote a letter from her house in central London, to Edmund Craster, Bodley's Librarian, which starts:

'I have a small collection of valuable manuscripts which by my husband's desire I have bequeathed by will to the Bodleian. I think that with the possibilities of bombs, it would be wiser to give them away now.'11

A few days later she wrote again:

'The M.S.S. are mostly Books of Hours, only 12 [sic]. I dare say you have more than you want? I do not know why my late husband suggested the Bodleian rather than All Souls Library. I think, perhaps, it may have been his friendship with the Librarian of his time ...'.12

Arrangements were made for Noël Denholm-Young, the recently appointed Keeper of Western Manuscripts, to visit Mrs Buchanan two weeks later, and by the end of the month he was writing to thank Mrs Buchanan for 'this most munificent benefaction' of '15 Liturgical manuscripts', which had by then arrived safely at the Library. In the same letter he thanks her for 'the brief descriptive notes and the letter which you kindly lent me.', and fortunately, the transcriptions he made of these notes and the last page of this letter survive, and are kept in Library Records.

Though we lack its first page(s), the letter is plainly from Buchanan to his father John, being signed from 'your affectionate son | T. R. Buchanan'. It is dated April 1874, and describes an afternoon spent showing some manuscripts to H. O. Coxe, Bodley's librarian13. The copy of the letter makes reference to 'the printed prayer-book you have got, that by Hardonyn [sic].', and mentions that 'The Bodleian is very rich in English work of which I don't think there are any specimens in your possession.'; it ends, 'Any further information I get I will let you know.' These and other passages suggest not only that Buchanan's father had a collection of early books; but indeed that it was his father's books, not his own, that he was showing to Coxe.

The fifteen Books of Hours given in 1939 comprise the printed Book of Hours just mentioned, and fourteen manuscripts, all illuminated. These were accessioned with the general Bodleian series of such material, and shelfmarked as MSS. Lat. liturg. e. 22-35 and MS. Dutch f. 1; the shelfmark and accession date were pencilled usually at the bottom centre of the first folio of each manuscript, apparently by Denholm-Young14.

In September 1940, Mrs Buchanan wrote to the Bodleian again:

'My valuable books which by my husband's desire I was to leave by will to the Bodleian & All Souls Libraries are in their book cases at 52 Mount St [and] of course they are in imminent danger of destruction'.

Soon after, about 650 books were sent from London to Oxford for appraisal and safe-keeping, but others remained in London, and by May 1941 Mrs Buchanan was writing yet again:

'The matter presses as the house ... has already been bombed three times and may be set on fire at any minute.'

A four-way correspondence continued until the end of the year, between the elderly Mrs Buchanan at her house in Cornwall, her secretary at the house in London, the Bodleian, and Sir Charles Oman of All Souls College; an added complication being that a number of Buchanan's books were being stored at a relative's house in Wokingham. Eventually the matter was sorted out to everyone's satisfaction: the Bodleian selected all the manuscripts, and over five hundred printed books, including many notable for their fine bindings, and many editions of the works of George Buchanan15; All Souls selected thirty-two books of those that remained, being interested only in those relating to law or history; the remainder were sent to Mrs Buchanan's nephew in Edinburgh16; and Mrs Buchanan was delighted with Strickland Gibson's account of her husband and of the donation, which he published in the Bodleian Library Record.

With the accession of this sizable and important second donation, the new shelfmark 'Buchanan' was created, and the fifteen Books of Hours previously received in 1939 were re-referenced accordingly, with shelfmarks starting 'MS. Buchanan ...'17.

Notes on the sources of Buchanan's manuscripts

One of the manuscripts and the illuminated printed Book of Hours bear the inscription 'Tho Buchanan', and the manuscript is also dated 'Oct 1857', all in an adult hand18. At this date T. R. Buchanan would have been only 11 years old, and we must therefore assume that these books belonged to T. R. Buchanan's uncle, also called Thomas, who is known to have collected art, and lived at Cadder, not far from the younger Buchanan's family home in Glasgow. It is reported that it was at his uncle's house that the young Buchanan 'first acquired his taste for things of beauty.'19; when his uncle died in 1864 the whole family moved into the house at Cadder, and these two books presumably passed to Buchanan's father by bequest. It is possible that Buchanan's uncle owned more than just these two books, but these are the only two he signed.

The notes referred to above, transcribed by Denholm-Young 'From a small MS. notebook (6.4" x 3.9") lent to me by Mrs Buchanan'20, consist of a numbered list of fifteen manuscripts, headed 'Missals'; the numbers on the list correspond to numbers inscribed in pencil at the front of the books themselves. Each book on this list has between two and twenty lines of description, some including notes on where, and for how much, they were bought. The list starts: 'The four following missals were bought at Boone's New Bond Street on April 16th 1862.', and their prices are given as £30, £30, £25, and £20 respectively21. No. 5 on the list has the note 'This MS. & Nos. [followed by a blank space, perhaps '6 & 7' was intended] were bought in Paris in October 1857 & cost 52£ (800 fr.)'; No. 12 on the list provides the price, 38 shillings, but not the source22.

This is a second piece of evidence which suggests that some, at least, of the manuscripts belonged first to Buchanan's father before passing to Buchanan himself: it seems very unlikely that as a 16 year old youth, apparently with very little knowledge of manuscripts, Buchanan would have spent ,105 on a single day for the first four manuscripts on the list. This is further evidence then, that in 1874 Buchanan was showing books to Coxe on behalf of his father, and was given or bequeathed them at a later date.

It follows from this that the list with numbered descriptive notes on the fifteen Books of Hours was probably compiled by Buchanan's father, and that all fifteen once belonged to him: Buchanan himself did not number his other manuscripts or printed books, and there is no evidence that he compiled a descriptive list of them. And if the several books seen by Coxe did indeed belong to Buchanan's father, we may perhaps assume that all the manuscripts in the numbered list were his, and were possibly all bought before 1874. Of the other eleven illuminated manuscripts now in the collection but not on the numbered list23, we have firm evidence for the date of acquisition of six of them, and all of these were acquired in 1875 or later24. It is probable that Buchanan shelved the books given to him by his father physically separate from those he bought himself, since Mrs Buchanan seems only to have been aware of this group of fifteen when she presented them in 1939.

It may well have been as a result of the meeting with Coxe in 1874 that Buchanan began to collect manuscripts himself, and it may have been Coxe who impressed on him the value of recording the source of such acquisitions, for we find a number of purchases from 1875 onwards (especially 1875 and 1876) which bear either a cutting from the auctioneer's or bookseller's catalogue, or else a handwritten note of the purchase. But these are the exception; Buchanan did not usually write in his books the place, date, or cost of their acquisition. It is, however, possible to piece together a general picture of his buying habits, which is presented below for what it reveals about the formation of the collection, and in the hope that it may aid future investigations into the provenance of these and other manuscripts. This is also done partly in order to prevent the Provenance section of each catalogue entry from becoming disproportionately lengthy, and partly to minimise repetition where more than one manuscript comes from the same source.

There are very few published sources relating to Buchanan's book-collecting, and the information they provide is scanty25. In the absence of further secondary sources of information26, almost all the material for the investigation of their provenance lies within the books themselves. By examination of the books, both manuscript and printed, it has been possible to make a number of links between the small percentage which bear an explicit indication of their source, and the remainder, which do not. Thus, where a book bears a distinctive form of bookseller's price-code, and evidence revealing the bookseller from which it was purchased, the probability has been examined that other manuscripts bearing the same price-code came from the same dealer. Sometimes a bookseller who left a distinctive mark in the books he sold cannot be identified; but one can nonetheless be confident that, on the evidence of such marks, all the books bearing a particular mark came from the same source, or at least passed through the hands of a particular dealer. From the books bearing indications of the source and/or date and/or place of acquisition, it has been possible to sketch out an impression of where and when Buchanan was buying most actively, which dealers he favoured, as well as his forays into the sale-room to bid in person-the latter relatively unusual for a gentleman collector at that date.

Messrs. Boone
As we have seen, four manuscripts were bought by Buchanan's father (or perhaps uncle?) from Messrs. Boone in April 1863. MS. Buchanan e. 3 is inscribed in pencil 'Boone' on fol. iv, and bears a distinctive form of price-code in the top right corner of the front pastedown, with a variant form in the top left corner of the back pastedown; the same price-code occurs in equivalent positions in MSS. Buchanan e. 2 and g. 1, and other books which passed through Boone's hands, and must, therefore, be their price-code27.

Thomas Arthur & William Ridler
There is one form of price-code in Buchanan's manuscripts and printed books which occurs far more frequently than any other. Their presence at first threatened to undermine the method of attributing particular books to particular dealers based on such price-codes, since this single type of price-code can be found in books which contained other explicit evidence to indicate that they came not from a single dealer, but from two different booksellers: Thomas Arthur, and William Ridler. In due course the solution to the apparent problem was revealed: a single business was owned successively first by Arthur, and then by Ridler. Ridler presumably adopted Arthur's price code, since much of the shop's stock would already have borne it, and to have two price-codes in use concurrently would have been to invite problems. The bookshop was at 45 Holywell St. (better known as Booksellers' Row), Strand, London W.C. This street no longer exists, but can be found on Victorian maps, running approximately west-east parallel to the Strand from the northern side of the church of St. Mary-le-Strand to the northern side of the church of St. Clement Danes on the site now occupied by Bush House. That the price-code is indeed distinctive enough to make such attributions can perhaps be demonstrated by the fact that an example was immediately recognisable in MS. Lat. liturg. e. 39 (part of the Chertsey Breviary), and subsequent enquiry confirmed that this had indeed been bought at auction by Ridler in 1889.

There seems to be very little written about Arthur and Ridler; the most informative source is a single paragraph in William Roberts, The book-hunter in London (London, 1895), p. 230:

'Two of the earliest and best-known of the more important Holywell Street booksellers passed away some years ago. 'Tommy' Arthur, who made a respectable fortune out of the trade, and whose shop and connections are now in the possession of W. Ridler, who is a successful trader, and a man of considerable independence as regards the conventionalities of appearances. (Our artist's portrait of this celebrity in his brougham, indulging in the extravagance of a clay pipe, had not arrived at the time of going to press, so it must be held over until the next edition of this book.)'28.

With so little to go on, we must look elsewhere to flesh out the picture. Arthur and Ridler catalogues do not seem to survive in many libraries, though a reasonably complete set could be formed by combining those held at the Bodleian and at the Grolier Club, New York29. From these we can see that Arthur issued catalogues at approximately monthly intervals, as was common, and can get an idea of how long he was in business. The earliest catalogue found is at the Bodleian, dated March 1856, and numbered 'Part IV'; the latest is at the Grolier Club, and is the last of two series (each described as a 'new series'), and is numbered 88, dated December 1876. We thus know that Arthur was in business at Holywell St. for at least these two decades, 1856-1876.

The date at which Ridler took over from Arthur, referred to in vague terms by Roberts, can be deduced from other sources. In the second edition (1876) of Kelly's Directory of stationers, printers, booksellers, publishers, and paper makers , Arthur is listed at 45 Holywell St., but by the time of the third edition (1880), he is absent, and that address is occupied by Ridler. The date of the change is even more closely deduceable from one of Buchanan's printed books: Buchanan d.22 has an inscription stating that it was bought from Ridler in October 1877. Furthermore, since the Grolier Club collection includes an apparently unbroken run of about 150 Arthur catalogues, of which the last is that for December 1876, it is likely that the hand-over of the business occurred at the start of 1877. Ridler presumably started a new series, numbered from 1 onwards, and had reached 'Part 71' by April 1882, suggesting that he too issued catalogues at approximately monthly intervals. The last Ridler catalogue at the Bodleian is Part 113, for December 1884, but it is apparent that he continued in business well into the 20th century, since the Bodleian purchased a manuscript from him as late as 23 December 190330. He is also present in the eighth to eleventh editions (1904-12) of Kelly's directory (having moved between 1900 and 1904 from Bookseller's Row to Bloomsbury), but absent from the 12th edition (1916): he presumably retired or died within a couple of years of 1914.

It may well be that Buchanan's first purchase from Ridler included the printed book just referred to: it is one of a set of six volumes of which the first, Buchanan d.22, has the inscription 'Bought from Ridler Oct 77 | £3.3/. | TRB', written near the bookseller's purchase price in his characteristic code, and the retail price: '£4-4-0'. Ridler was offering Buchanan a generous discount on the marked price-perhaps as a sign of goodwill to one of Arthur's regular customers-but he seems not to have made a loss on the transaction, since the price-code 'x/-/-' indicates that the set of books had cost him only £3!31

On at least one occasion, Buchanan seems to have commissioned Ridler to execute bids on his behalf, at the Baron Seillière sale, in February 1887: numerous Buchanan books were knocked down to Ridler32, but none of these have the usual price-code, which suggests that they did not enter Ridler's stock, and instead went directly to Buchanan.

Raguin, Paris
Buchanan recorded a number of purchases from Raguin of Paris, usually handwritten in ink on slips of thin paper inserted along the gutter margin at the front of the volume. Several bear the date November 187533, others are dated April 187634, and all have a form of price-code inscribed in pencil in the top left corner of the back pastedown (or the last flyleaf), which closely resembles those in MSS. Buchanan f. 2 and g. 3. It therefore seems reasonable to propose that these two medieval manuscripts came from this source.

Adolphe Labitte, 4, rue de Lille, 4e Arr., Paris
Three medieval manuscripts (MSS. Buchanan e. 5, e. 7, and e. 14) appear to have come from a single dealer, since they all share a common form of price-code, inscribed in brown ink on the final flyleaf or back pastedown; the illuminated printed Book of Hours (Buchanan e.136) bought by Buchanan's uncle in Paris, has a similar inscription at the front, with a note in French recording the number of large and small miniatures.

Several other printed books bear codes that appear to relate closely to these; of these, Buchanan c.3, which was acquired before 1891, has a pasted-in cutting from a bookseller's catalogue, cut from the top of the page, thus preserving the running titles in capital letters: 'LIBRAIRE DE ADOLPHE LABITTE' and '4, RUE DE LILLE, 4.'. Buchanan d.53, e.74, f.54, f.131 also have cuttings from Labitte catalogues35, and notes by Buchanan stating that they were bought in April 1876 (i.e. the same month he was buying from Raguin, see above).

Other Paris booksellers
Buchanan e.15 has a note stating that it was bought from Jouin, Paris, in April 1876; Buchanan e.51, f.142, and f.179 were bought in the same month from Hérault36; and Buchanan g.48 was bought from the libraire A. Rouquette (69-73 passage Choiseul) in 1881. Buchanan f.37 was bought in Paris in 1874, Buchanan f.169 in May of the same year, and Buchanan d.65 in Nov. 1875, but the vendors are not recorded. Buchanan g.41 was also bought in Paris, but neither the date nor the vendor are known. It has not been possible, however, to link any of these booksellers with any of the medieval manuscripts.

Many manuscripts and printed books in the Buchanan collection bear one of two sorts of annotation which can be attributed to Sotheby's. There is commonly an encircled number inscribed in pencil towards the upper left corner of the upper pastedown; much less commonly the number is enclosed within a triangle. That these marks must have been added by Sotheby's is shown by the fact that they occur in books bound for Baron Seillière (thus they cannot pre-date his ownership), which passed from his collection directly through Sotheby's to Buchanan, bidding in person at the auction (thus they cannot have been added by an intermediary bookseller). They presumably relate instead to a preliminary inventorying of books before removal from the owner's to Sotheby's premises, or at least prior to the preparation of a catalogue, since the numbers do not correspond to lot numbers.

The 'Morris' sale
Shortly after William Morris's death in 1896, the bookseller F. S. Ellis, co-executor with Sydney Cockerell of Morris's will, drew up a '... valuation of the principal books in the library ... [in which] prices fixed were as near as possible those paid by Morris ...'. In this inventory the manuscripts are listed separately before the printed books, mostly in alphabetical order37; and the three Buchanan manuscripts appear as nos. 6, 42, and 7038. The numbers assigned to the manuscripts in this inventory are usually found inscribed in pencil in the top left corner of the upper pastedown or first flyleaf (e.g. MS. Buchanan d. 4).

In April 1897 Richard Bennett, of Riversdale, Manchester, an eccentric collector of manuscripts and early printed books39, bought Morris's library through Pickering and Chatto (for £18,000, according to Cockerell), and then re-sold the great majority, including all but thirty-one of the manuscripts-and most of those which are more than 13 inches tall, such as MS. Buchanan c. 1-in the 'Morris' sale at Sotheby's on 5 December 1898 and five following days; earlier the same year he had commissioned a posthumous booklabel in Kelmscott 'Golden' type40: 'FROM THE LIBRARY | OF WILLIAM MORRIS | KELMSCOTT HOUSE | HAMMERSMITH', which is usually found stuck at the top of the upper pastedown41. Buchanan seems to have viewed the sale personally (making notes in his copy of the catalogue) and then bid in person, coming away with three manuscripts42.

Morris had certainly bought a number of his manuscripts from Messrs. J. & J. Leighton43, binders of the Kelmscott books, and they are probably responsible for the re-backing of the two Morris-Buchanan manuscripts in wood boards.

Other auctions A large number of printed Buchanan books were bought at various auctions, and in at least one instance their appeal seems to have been partly due to their Scottish/Edinburgh connections44.

1. This biographical sketch owes much to S. Gibson, 'Bookbindings in the Buchanan Collection', Bodleian Library Record 2 no. 16 (1941), pp. 6-12, at pp. 6-8, to which the reader is directed for further details.

2. Published as The effects of the Renaissance upon England (London, Oxford, and Cambridge, 1868).

3. Buchanan's own copy is now Buchanan b.16.

4. S. Gibson, 'Bookbindings in the Buchanan Collection', Bodleian Library Record 2 no. 16 (1941), pp. 6-12, at p. 6.

5. See Who was who, vol. I, 1897-1915: a companion to Who's who containing the biographies of those who died during the period 1897-1915 (5th edn., London, 1966); further information is supplied by the obituary in The Times, 8 April 1911, p. 11.

6. H. W. G[arrod], 'Obituary: Thomas Ryburn Buchanan', The Oxford Magazine 29 no. 18 (11 May 1911), 299-300; Gibson, as above, p. 6 n. 1 and 12, attributes the obituary and this remark to Sir William Anson.

7. Included in The Bodleian Library: pre-1920 catalogue of printed books (CD-ROM, Oxford [1993]).

8. Concise typescript descriptions of the medieval manuscripts have been available at the Bodleian for many years, but remain unprinted; very brief mentions were published in 'Fifteen illuminated Horae', Bodleian Library Record 1 no. 7 (1939), pp. 115-6; 'Western manuscripts: donations of MSS.', Oxford University Gazette (1 Dec. 1939), pp. 185-6; S. Gibson, 'Bookbindings in the Buchanan Collection', Bodleian Library Record 2 no. 16 (1941), pp. 6-12. Brief but useful notes, with some plates, are in the first two volumes of Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (3 vols., Oxford, 1966-73).

9. MS. Buchanan g. 4.

10. The increase in the understanding of the artistic merits of illuminated manuscripts in the immediately preceding generations is provided by A. N. L. Munby, Connoisseurs and medieval miniatures 1750-1850 (Oxford, 1972).

11. Library Records d. 1025, fol. 5.

12. Library Records d. 1025, fol. 6.

13. Library Records d. 1025, fol. 9.

14. The pencil notes accompanying the shelfmark, usually in the middle at the bottom edge of the first leaf of the manuscript (e.g. MS. Buchanan ... D. vi. 41) represent the means and date of acquisition (D=Donated, P=Purchased, Dep=Deposited).

15. See 'Printed books, etc.: chief donations of printed books: Buchanan collection', in Annual report of the curators of the Bodleian Library for 1940-1 (Oxford, 1941), 15; S. Gibson, 'Bookbindings in the Buchanan Collection', Bodleian Library Record 2 no. 16 (1941), pp. 6-12; and Edmund Craster, History of the Bodleian Library 1845-1945 (Oxford, 1952, repr. 1981), 286-7.

16. Those that no one else wanted were sold at Sotheby's, 11 November 1941, lots 242-258.

17. Later still, the illuminated printed book was removed from the 'MS. Buchanan' to the 'Buchanan' series, hence the gap in the sequence between MSS. Buchanan e. 5 and e. 7.

18. MS. Buchanan e. 5, and Buchanan e.136.

19. Library Records c. 1026, fol. 44r, repeated by S. Gibson, 'Bookbindings in the Buchanan Collection', Bodleian Library Record 2 no. 16 (1941), pp. 6-12.

20. Library Records, d. 1025, fols. 10-12.

21. They are MSS. Buchanan g. 1, e. 2, e. 3., and e. 4, respectively.

22. It is MS. Buchanan e. 12.

23. MSS. Buchanan c 1, d. 4, e. 15, e. 18, f. 2, f. 3, f. 4, g. 2, g. 3, and g. 4.

24. MSS. Buchanan c. 1, d. 4, e. 15, e. 18, f. 4, and g. 3.

25. The only 19th-century account of any of Buchanan's manuscripts (apart from booksellers' and auctioneers' catalogue descriptions) appears to be E. Gordon Duff and S. T. Prideaux, Burlington Fine Arts Club: exhibition of bookbindings (London, 1891), which includes MS. Buchanan f. 2 and twenty-seven of his printed books.

26. Thirty trunks full of 'largely unsorted' personal papers are in private ownership (see Chris Cook et al., Sources in British political history 1900 - 1951, volume 3: a guide to the private papers of Members of Parliament, A-K (London and Basingstoke, 1977), 66-7; and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts's Papers of British politicians 1782-1900 (Guides to sources for British history based on the National Register of Archives, 7: London, 1989), 15 no. 89); there is no reason to suppose that they contain substantial information regarding Buchanan's manuscripts, and they have not been consulted in the preparation of this catalogue.

27. The same price-code occurs in a number of manuscripts from the library of Carlo Archinto, now in the British Library (Add. MSS. 25449, 25450, 25454), and Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum MS. 26, all of which passed through Boone's hands; Bodleian Library MS. Add. A. 188, MS. Auct. T. inf. 2. 9, and MS. Auct. T. 5. 34 all bear the price-code, and were acquired from Boone, but are not from the Archinto library.

28. It is regrettable that a second edition was never published, both because it would have been interesting to have had Ridler's portrait, and because it might have offered an expanded version of the paragraph on Buchanan himself (pp. 319-20).

29. A few are held by the Bibliothèque royale, Brussels, (see Jeanne Blogie, Répertoire des catalogues de ventes de livres imprimés appartenant à la Bibliothèque royale Albert Ier, III: catalogues Britanniques (Collection du Centre national de l'archéologie et de l'histoire du livre: Brussels, 1998)), including one where it has been possible to a match the complete copy with a clipping pasted into a manuscript (MS. Buchanan e. 18).

30. MS. Lat. class. b. 1.

31. The price-code seems to have been based on a word like 'taxidermys' (where t=1, a=2, etc.), but I have not found enough books whose auction-price is known, to be certain.

32. Including, among others, lots 8 (Buchanan d.45), 11 (d.42), 27 (f.56), 83 (c.11), 117 (e.59), 167 (d.36), 725 (c.20-21), etc.

33. MSS. Buchanan d. 2, and g. 15-16, as do the printed books Buchanan d.2, f.36, f.44-45, f.70, f.156, g.15, and g.34.

34. Buchanan e.3, e.65, e.67, f.123, f.132, f.136.

35. Which state, from 1873/4 onwards, that he was 'Libraire de la Bibliothèque nationale'.

36. This is perhaps Henry Auguste Hérault, who co-wrote, with Théodore Berrier, the Histoire et description de la Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris [1884]).

37. Inaccurately pr. in The collected letters of William Morris, IV, ed. Norman Kelvin (Princeton, 1996), as Appendix B: 'William Startridge Ellis, Valuation of the library of William Morris 1896', 401-33. I am very grateful to the owner of the inventory, Mr. Sanford L. Berger, for supplying me with photocopies of the pages listing the medieval manuscripts.

38. As follows 6. Aretini (Leon.) Historia Florentini. circa 1450 [£]19 1042. Fenestella. De Romanorum magistratibus. Italian. c.1470 sm. 4to [£]15 70. Poggius (Joh.) De var. Fortunae libri \IV/ Ital. 8o [£] 5 A fourth Morris medieval manuscript in the Bodleian is MS. Lat. th. b. 4 (Gregory's Decretals, dated 1241 by the scribe), and is recorded in the Ellis inventory as no. 107.

39. On whom see Seymour de Ricci, English collectors of books & manuscripts (1530-1930) and their marks of ownership (Cambridge, 1930, repr. 1969), 171-3.

40. See Brian North Lee, British bookplates (Newton Abbot, etc., 1979), 154 no. 252.

41. Occasionally the label is inside the lower board when there is insufficient free space available inside the upper; sometimes the label seems to have been removed (e.g. MS. Lat. th. b. 4), possibly for unscrupulous re-use in another volume.

42. On Morris's medieval manuscripts, see Barbara Rosenbaum and Richard Pearson, eds., Index of English literary manuscripts, volume IV: 1800-1900, part 3: Landor - Patmore (London and New York, 1993), the introduction to William Morris, especially the sections on 'The dispersal of manuscripts and Morris collections', 475-7, and 'Morris's library and lists of manuscripts', 503-7. I am very grateful to Mark Samuels Lasner for bringing these sources to my attention.

A complete list of Morris's medieval manuscripts is in preparation by William Stoneman, which will include their Ellis inventory number, 'Morris' sale lot number, provenance, and present whereabouts, where known. I am very grateful to him for making copies of his working lists avalable to me.

43. On whom see the discursive article by Hugh William Davis, 'Some famous English bookshops, I. Notes on the firm of J. & J. Leighton and the Old House at Brewer Street', The Library World 34 nos. 395-6 (1932), 149-55 and 177-83; and David Pearson, Provenance research in book history: a handbook (The British Library Studies in the History of the Book: London, 1994), 161).

44. These include books from the Auchinleck, Gibson-Craig, Laing, Makellan, and Mackenzie of Seaforth sales; a particularly large group were bought at the sale of the library of Sir William Fettes Douglas, President of the Royal Scottish Academy, at Dowell's, Edinburgh, 7 Dec. 1891 and four following days.