Arundel manuscripts

Leonardo da Vinci's diagrams, from the ‘Codex Arundel’
Notes and diagrams on optics by Leonardo da Vinci, from the ‘Codex Arundel’, Italy (Florence, Milan, Rome) and France (Amboise), between 1478 and 1518, Arundel MS 263, f. 64v.

This collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts features a number of important items, including Leonardi da Vinci’s notebook.

About the collection

Highlights from the collection include Michael of Northgate’s Ayenbite of Inwyt, the De Lisle Psalter, and Filippo Alberici’s Tabula Cebetis.

Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, amassed what stands as the first major British art collection, which included painting, sculpture, and manuscripts. In 1666 his grandson, Henry Howard, divided the collection between the Royal Society and the College of Arms. In 1831 the British Museum purchased the Royal Society’s share of more than 500 manuscripts.

The collection is ordered by shelfmarks running from Arundel MS 1 to Arundel MS 446.

What is available online?

list of many of the Arundel manuscripts can be browsed and many are described in detail in the online catalogue, Explore Archives and Manuscripts. Images from some of the manuscripts can be found on the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.

A number of the Arundel manuscripts, including the Codex Arundel and some Greek manuscripts, can be found on Digitised Manuscripts.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

The Arundel collection of manuscripts is available for consultation in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Some items may require a letter of recommendation.

How to guides

Access manuscripts and archives

Accessing manuscripts and archives and obtaining a Letter of introduction or recommendation