Manuscripts

National Art Library

Plan a visit

The National Art Library holds a rich collection of unique manuscript material ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day, in the form of bound volumes, single documents and whole archives. It encompasses illuminated manuscripts, modern calligraphy, literary manuscripts, how-to recipe books, papers of antiquarians, artists and scholars, correspondence, inventories, business papers, and many more miscellaneous wonders.

Read more
See less
Highlights include five notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, the original manuscripts for most of Charles Dickens’s novels, calligraphic work by Edward Johnston, one of Jonathan Swift’s diaries, a missal made in the 14th century for the Abbey of Saint-Denis in Paris, and the archives of Joseph Archer Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, 19th-century specialists of Italian Renaissance art.

Collection Highlights

manuscript
Li tre libri dell'arte del vasaio, manuscript, by Cipriano Piccolpasso, about 1557, Italy
manuscript
Pages 83 verso and 84 recto – The Flight to Egypt from Book of Hours of Margaret of Foix, manuscript, 1471 – 76, France.
Iluminated address by the Tenants of the Courtroom estates for Lord Viscount Stopford, 1875 – 78. Museum no. MSL/1984/69/1. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
manuscript
Manuscript cutting, from choirbook, painted by Girolamo da Cremona, probably made for the convent of Santa Giustina in Padua, about 1462, Lombardy, Italy
manuscript
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens, about 1870, Britain. Museum no. MSL/1866/Forster/167/1, f. 5r. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
manuscript
Entartete Kunst: A typescript inventory for The Reichsministerium für Volksaufklarüng und Propaganda, vol. 1, 1941 or 1942, Germany. Museum no. MSL/1996/7/1, p. 179. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
manuscript
Page from Homilies on the Archangel Michael, manuscript, about 1560, Ethiopia
manuscript
Chambord Missal, manuscript, by Leon Gruel, 1844, Paris, France
manuscript
Al-Wajiz, or an abridged commentary on the Koran, manuscript, 1478, Egypt
book
A Book of Verse, by William Morris and Edward Burne Jones, 1870, London, England
manuscript
Letters from Edward Johnston to Giorgiana, Helen, Elizabeth and Mary MacRae, 1897 – 1906, Britain. Museum no. MSL/1959/4394. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
manuscript
Page 91 recto from Volume II of the Foster Codex, by Leonardo da Vinci, late 15th – early 16th century, Milan, Italy

Features