Miscellaneous Digital Facsimile Collections

Sexy Codicology This is the current uber meta site of the medieval internet, and growing bigger and better every day. There are no digital facsimile collections on this site as such, but it can show you where they all are. It is actually a set of sites. I have started with the blog, as it gets you into the system. There is a map where you can locate collections of digital facsimiles from all over the world, there are collections of Tumblr, Flickr and Pinterest and a Facebook site, and just so we know what is going on, a Twitter feed. It will make this link page here quite redundant.

Digital Scriptorium A database of medieval and Renaissance manuscript sample images derived from works in many different libraries and institutions. Various search criteria are available. This replaces some earlier sites that were listed here. This site was originally hosted by Berkeley University, then by Columbia, and is returning to Berkeley. It contains over 27,000 images from over 5000 manuscripts from over 30 institutions.

Stanford University - A Gallery of Manuscripts Looking a little dated now, a small collection of images and catalogue entries, with large but badly coloured gifs of full pages or bifolia.

Medieval Manuscript Leaves Scans of 51 assorted single manuscript leaves, with commentary and paleographical information.

Digitised Images from the Bodleian Libraries Special Collections Now a one stop shop for all the digitised collections from the Bodleian, including various cataegories of manuscript collections. The Gough map is here, Celtic manuscripts and Western manuscripts, including images from the Bodleian's once famous collection of slides (or "lanterns" as one aged archaeologist of my previous acquaintance insisted on calling them. Says it all about the advance of imaging technology really.)

J. Paul Getty Museum - Manuscripts The manuscripts section provides images from a number of medieval items in the collection, and provides some useful background information. Also try their Past Exhibitions section, as several of these relate to medieval manuscripts.

Manuscripts and Princes in Medieval and Renaissance Europe An exhibition of manusripts from royal collections in Europe.

The British Library provides images of many items in its collection, although navigation through the site can be an adventure. Their Turning the Pages section supposedly allows you to look through various pages of a single work, but it is hardly user friendly. In fact, I have found the latest version user unusable. They now also have a Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog with latest news about the collection and an ever increasing list of complete digital facsimiles in a much more user friendly format.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France The English language home page gets you into an introduction to another of the mighty collections. There is an online catalogue, several manuscript exhibitions online and a bank of online images. Mandragore allows a database search of the manuscript collection using a range of iconographic criteria.

Victoria and Albert Museum Click the search the collections link to find examples of manuscripts, mainly of decorative illuminations. High quality full page reproductions are available.

Pharos: Fitzwilliam Museum - The Collection: The Middle Ages A guided tour of the highlights of the collection of this august institution.

The Fitzwilliam Museum: The Cambridge Illuminations A virtual exhibition of highlights from an actual exhibition. It concentrates on illustration, but some writing creeps in. There is also a multimedia demonstration of how manuscripts were made. (Flash player needed for the latter.)

Dscriptorium A series of images from a number of medieval manuscripts, with commentary, and links to other manuscript sites.

Hill Monastic Library Since this web site has been reorganised, it is a little harder to ferret out the manuscript images. Vivarium leads to access to the online digital collections of manuscripts and artworks. Click on the St John's Bible link to discover that fine illuminated manuscript production is not dead.

Bibliotheca Schoenbergiensis An exhibition from the collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg in the University of Pennsylvania Library, with illustrations and descriptions from various manuscripts.

Medieval Manuscripts at the Free Library of Philadelphia There are virtual exhibitions of manuscripts in the collection, including the Leaves of Gold exhibition and an examination of the Edward IV Roll, as well as a bibliography, web links and other information.

ArtServe at the Australian National University has images from some leaves, or at least reproductions of leaves, of some medieval manuscripts, but that site is looking very tired and elderly now.

Memory of the World Program A UNESCO program which seems to have stalled around 1997 (or at least the web site has), this site illustrates a few unusual medieval manuscripts, among other things.

Treasures from the World's Great Libraries From the National Library of Australia, some samples from a truly brilliant exhibition. Only a few are medieval, but it was a wonderful exhibition on the power of writing. Now that they have had to return all the treasures, wouldn't it be nice if we could see them all here?

Medieval Manuscripts of Syracuse University Library Good catalogue descriptions and reproductions of a number of pages from 10 manuscripts of the 13th to 16th centuries in the library's collection.

Treasures from the Saxon State Library: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Several images from a library exhibition.

The Schøyen Collection: Checklist of Manuscripts spanning 5000 years A private individual in Norway owns a manuscript collection which is the largest in the world outside national libraries. This site, developed by the National Library of Norway, has catalogue descriptions and illustrations of a large sample from a range of periods. The full catalogue of the collection is not yet complete. Bookbindings and seals are also illustrated. Wow!

The Evolution of the Medieval Book A truly beautiful web exhibition drawn from the holdings of Cornell Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. The Leather and Chains section is about codicology!

Bibliographics This is a very strange web site which gives no indication of who it belongs to. They obviously did a weekend course on Java at some stage, but would have been well advised to complete a longer course. It contains a section on Manuscript Fragments found in bookbindings.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University: Collections and Treasures Catalogue and descriptions of holdings, including numerous medieval manuscripts, with a few images of details.

Charles Edwin Puckett This commercial seller of manuscript leaves and antiquities has produced a nice site with good images and catalogue details. Yes, it does make you weep to see single leaves abstracted from volumes.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library From Yale University, there is a database of catalogue entries and many online digital images from their collection. The interface is rather difficult for browsing.

The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: Image Gallery A number of images of medieval manuscripts can now be accessed by clicking on the Western link.

Treasures from Two Millennia From Glasgow University Library, single pages from a range of books, including many medieval manuscripts, with notes and catalogue links. Also check out their Book of the Month Archive which contains an assortment of exhibitions on particular books, some of which are medieval, containing general descriptions and illustrations.

The Burgess Manuscript Collection While this is basically a catalogue of a special collection in the University of Oregon Library, some entries have links to images of bindings and text pages, as well as codicology, commentary and bibliiographies.

The Morgan Library - Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Images The Morgan Library in New York now includes more than 5000 images from manuscripts in its collection in its catalogue. They are mainly of miniatures and other illustrations, and are accessible through a very user-friendly browse and search facility linked to the catalogue descriptions. They also have some nice Online Exhibitions, some of which focus on medieval manuscript treasures.

The Book of Kells and the Art of Illumination This was a wonderful exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, in which a section of the famous Book of Kells was exhibited, along with a surprising array of medieval manuscripts in Australian and New Zealand collections. Why they have chosen to provide stingy little illustrations in a site that has more gimmicks than logic I have no idea.

John Rylands Library: Image Collections From the University of Manchester, this site displays a selection of images of treasures from the library, some of which are medieval manuscripts.

Illuminated Manuscript Leaves From Northern Illinois University Library, images of a small collection of single manuscript leaves from Bibles, books of hours and liturgical works, with brief notes and good quality enlargements.

Mackus Company The site of a commercial firm selling manuscript leaves and historical legal documents. Large images are provided.

Dartmouth College Library: Browse the Western Manuscript Collection A catalogue of a large manuscript collection, with a representative image or two, complete with high quality enlargements, for each entry.

Fine Arts In Hungary This site provides a selection of assorted artworks from a somewhat lesser known part of Europe. Use the search form to find manuscript images. There are good zoomable images, but minimal information.

Scattered Leaves For those who like a touch of controversy, a site from the University of Saskatchewan outlining a project to digitally reassemble the dispersed manuscript collection of Otto Ege. This gentleman not only sold manuscripts all over the globe, but took them apart to sell individual pages. There is a virtual exhibition of some pages held in the university.

The Otto F. Ege Paleography Portfolio Attempts a catalogue of the dispersed collections of the aforesaid Otto Ege, and contains images and links to other resources on the web relating to this project.

Digital Collections: Illuminated Manuscripts From Central Washington University, 15 leaves believed to be from the (in)famous Otto Ege portfolios.

Medieval Manuscripts from the Collection of Richard and Mary Rouse From UCLA Library, a selection of single leaves from works in the collection, with modest quality images and catalogue descriptions.

The Medieval Imagination Images and notes from an exhibition of medieval manuscripts from Cambridge, held in the State Library of Victoria, Australia, in 2008. The images are only of modest size.

Leeds University Digital Objects An ongoing project to provide a database of illuminated pages from the medieval manuscripts in the library collection, accessible through browse and search functions. For a quick overview, there is a Virtual Tour of the collection.

Facsimiles of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles From the Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University, illustrations from modern printed facsimiles of some famous English manuscripts.

Medieval Manuscripts Online A blog about the digitisation of medieval manuscripts, intending to provide links and reviews of resources. You may need to ferret around a bit to find the bits that interest you.

Medieval Manuscripts in Law Book Bindings This series of images and descriptions is derived from an exhibition in the Yale Law Library of medieval manuscript fragments recovered from the bindings of early printed law books. Individual items are being published sequentially on the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

Europeana A beta version of an EU project to present cultural materials from all over Europe. Type "medieval manuscripts" into the search box to see some.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe Over 2000 illustrations of pages of text and illuminations from manuscripts in the library.

Manuscripts and Rare Books: The Walters Art Museum An assortment of images from items in the collection.

Parchment and Pixel Blog of Will Noel, Curator of Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum, with a series of digital images of manuscript pages in the collection.

Trinity College Cambridge Library: Early Manuscripts A few illustrated pages from works in their collections.

Got Medieval This funny and irreverent blog pokes fun at things medieval, and at our modern take on them, but it also has lots of interesting little snippets from medieval manuscripts, particularly those bizarre little scenes painted in the borders.

Digitised Books This section of the Royal Library of the Netherlands site illustrates a number of illuminated manuscripts, among other treasures. There is also a web exhibition entitled Highlights from Medieval Manuscripts, as well as 100 Highlights from the Koninklijke Bibliotheek from an exhibition of the same name.

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections From the same institution as the above, this is a catalogue of all medieval western manuscripts in Dutch public and semi-public collections. The section on highlights of the collection presents high quality images and descriptions of a selection of manuscript pages, some of them rather unusual.

Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes This site contains many resources for the study of French manuscripts. It hosts two databases of medieval illuminations, Liber Floridus a database of 33,000 images from 1700 manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Mazarine and the Bibliothèque Sainte-Genvieve in Paris. There are full page views and enlarged details with beautiful images. There is also Enluminures a database of manuscript illuminations and decorative elements. There are 14,000 images from over 1200 manuscripts. It is also possible to check out databases of photographic material of manuscripts from many libraries, available for purchase.

Médiathèques de l'agglomération troyenne This is apparently out of action for an undisclosed time. Some of their material is available on Gallica. Other material of particular relevance to Troyes is awaiting the construction of a new website.

Les Manuscrits Normands Four large images of 11th and12th century manuscript illustrations from the Bibliothèque Municipale de Rouen.

Les Trésors de la Bibliothèque Municipale de Besançon This exhibition of illustrations from three manuscripts in the library collection is no longer on the live web, but like so many lost treasures, we can scavenge it from The Internet Archive, as here.

Numelyo : bibliothèque numérique de Lyon This links to various digital collections in the library, including Merovingian and Carolingian manuscripts, illuminations and others.

Gallica From the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, this calls itself an "encyclopaedic digital heritage library", and includes assorted presentations of French culture under various themes. There are images from manuscripts under various topics.

Les Enluminures This is the beautiful web site of a commercial gallery in Paris dealing in illuminated manuscripts. A companion site Text Manuscripts deals with works containing interesting texts rather than pretty pictures. There is good catalogue information, some nice pictures and some scarey price tags. Take a look before they disappear into somebody's investment collection!

Codices Illustres This is a commercial site selling hard copy illuminated manuscript facsimiles as "a resource for libraries and institutions", but there are some nice taster illustrations from their wares.

Biblioteca Ambrosiana An Italian language site with a selection of images from medieval Manuscripts in this famous library in Milan. You need to mouse around through some rather convoluted navigation to find the offerings. This Italian language blog is concerned with matters of ancient books and miniatures. It has some lovely illustrations.

Handschriften der Universitätbibliothek Heidelberg A German language site with images of medieval manuscripts in the University of Heidelberg. There is a large number of very high quality images. If you don't read German, just look.

Bildarchiv der Kunst und Architektur A database of dubious quality black and white images with typed captions of art and architecture. To see the manuscripts, type handschrift into the search form under Art des Objekts.

Mittelalterliche Handschriften in österreichischen Biblioteken Catalogue information and a selection of images from manuscripts in Austrian Libraries. The interface seems difficult for browsing, but maybe I'm missing something. The site is stated as being under construction.

Late Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts on the Web This English language site from Denmark appears at first to be just a link site, but closer inspection reveals that it provides detailed and authoritative commentary or transcription for a number of other sites which display manuscript images.

Expo Rediviva Items from the permanent exhibition in Uppsala University Library including some medieval treasures. You might need to mouse around a bit to find things as the site is a bit confusing. The main treasures are represented by a few high quality images with notes, but it is possible to purchase full digital facsimiles of some items on CD-ROM. A portal site in Icelnad to various Scandinavian manuscript collections.

Medieval Parchment Fragments at Bergen University Library What it says, from Latin and Old Norse manuscripts. It contains images, catalogue information and some transcripts and translations.

Verzeichnis der Handschriftenfragmente der Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg This German language site provides full reproductions of fragments of medieval manuscripts which have been used as pastedowns, bindings or similar, from the university library of Salzburg. There are high quality images and catalogue information. As they say themselves "Fragments of manuscripts relate the histories of vanished books."

The McCune Collection This is not a manuscript collection, but a collection of rare books and incunabula in the John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, California. There are images and notes from works in the collection. Without wishing to open up the whole new area of incunabula, fascinating as it is, it is to be noted that this library has a stated hands on policy for users who visit and wish to actually read the books.


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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last updated 22/11/2014.