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Douce Manuscripts


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Manuscripts, and some printed books, collected by Douce, including books of Hours, sermons, and papers relating to medicine, literature, theology, French romances, and law.


  • Creation: 8th-19th century


54.12 Linear metres (492 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • Latin
  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Dutch; Flemish
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish; Castilian
  • Scots
  • Arabic
  • Persian
  • Proven├žal, Old (to 1500)

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Douce 1, fols. 1-2].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

Douce 310; Douce Adds. 47-48, 99; Douce B. 426, B. 639; Douce BB. 139, BB. 165, BB. 169, BB. 171-172, BB. 188; Douce CC. 388; Douce FF. 59, FF. 63; Douce Prints c. 50, e. 1; Douce S 857-859; MSS. Anglesey a. 2; MSS. Douce 1-390, 390**, 391-393; MSS. Douce a. 1-2, b. 1-4, c. 1-3, d. 1, d. 3-6, d. 8-16, e. 1, e. 3, e. 5-7, f. 1-5, g. 2, R. 458*; MSS. Douce Charters a. 1, a. 3

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12909


Douce Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Francis Douce (1757-1834), antiquary and collector, was the youngest son of Francis and Ellen Douce and grandson of Thomas and Elizabeth Douce. He was educated for mercantile pursuits and subsequently for the Bar, but his tastes were from the first literary and antiquarian. He married in 1799, and was for a short time (about 1807-1811) Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, where he took part in the preparation of the Lansdowne and Harleian Catalogues. In 1823 he came into a considerable property as residuary legatee of Nollekens the sculptor, and thenceforward freely indulged his propensity for collecting manuscripts, books connected with English literature, especially Shakespeare, and curiosities of every description. He formed a very large library, of which illuminated books of Hours, French romances, and early English literature, were especial features of the manuscript part. His chief published works were the Illustrations of Shakespeare (1807) and the Dance of Death (1833). Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography. Douce and his collections are discussed in Bodleian Quarterly Record, 7 (1932-1934), 359-382, in A. N. L. Munby, Connoisseurs and medieval miniatures 1750-1850 (Oxford, 1972), 35-56, and in The Douce legacy [exhibition catalogue] (Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1984).

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. IV, nos. 21575-21994, 21996-22003, 22005-22069.

Our best descriptions for medieval items in this collection are in Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries under MSS. Douce.

Our best descriptions for a few Oriental volumes in this collection are in the Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World under Oriental Manuscripts Douce collection and Manuscripts in the Douce Oriental collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was bequeathed to the Library by Douce in 1834.

Related Materials

See also the Papers of Francis Douce (MSS. Douce b. 6-9, c. 5-12, d. 20-88, e. 9-107, f. 6-26).

Separated Materials

The following shelfmarks were transferred to the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford:

MSS. Douce e. 4, g. 1, Douce Num 1-3

Douce Manuscripts
Collection Level Description by Emily Tarrant; EAD version 2020 by Kelly Burchmore
EAD version 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom