European Manuscripts Collection
The collection consists of 143 items, including some printed items, a seventeenth century Italian manuscript prayer book, and the centrepiece of the collection, a fifteenth century French Book of Hours.
Most of the items are illuminated manuscript leaves, and come from a range of different types of manuscript, including Books of Hours, missals, breviaries, graduals, psalters and a papal bull from Perugia, dated 1265. The material dates from the twelfth to the seventeenth century; the items are predominately of French origin (about half of the collection), with about a quarter originating from Italy and others from England, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The collection has been generously presented to the University of Reading by a private collector with the support of the Art Fund.
- A full description is available on our online database.
- A handlist for the whole collection can be found here.
- This collection has been featured on the Special Collections blog.
- See also our online exhibition, Embellish’d with Gold: Treasures from the European Manuscripts Collection
- See also the guest blog post by conservator Victoria Stevens Conserving a Magical Menagerie: The Conservation and Rehousing of the European Manuscripts Collection
The University of Reading Special Collections holds a number of early manuscripts in various collections, including a Charter granted by Henry II to the abbey of St Sauveur-Le-Vicomte (MS 1488), separate manuscript leaves previously used in bindings (MS 108), and a French illuminated Book of Hours (MS 2087) which dates from the early fifteenth century and is one of the featured items in our online exhibitions.