The thrill of holding a handwritten book, perhaps once owned by a king, a Pope or a celebrated Renaissance scholar, has long set manuscripts apart from all other category of book. Each is unique and intrinsically linked to the scribes and artists who produced it, and many in their long histories formed important parts of the libraries of medieval institutions and aristocratic courts as well as the grand libraries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A number contain readings of texts surviving nowhere else, and change our understanding of that text on their discovery. Others are quite simply, beautiful. All are fascinating in their own individual way.
Our auction lots range in date from Ancient papyrus, to medieval charters, rolls and illuminated codices (or fragments and cuttings of these) and continue through to later manuscripts from the centuries immediately following the invention of printing, and even later in the cases of the cultures of the Near East as well as those such as Iceland and Ireland when printing in those languages did not become the norm until the dawn of our modern age.
The auctions are divided into examples of manuscripts from both the Western world and the Islamic and other neighbouring cultures of the Eastern world. In the last few years we have catalogued and sold items in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian and an array of European vernaculars, including Middle English, Old High and Low German, medieval French, Italian and Catalan, old Czech and the exceptionally rare Croatian Glagolitic, as well as the various forms of Arabic, Turkish and Farsi including Pashto and Urdu.