Oriental manuscripts of Francis Douce

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Douce Or. a. 1-6, b. 1-11, c. 1-7, d. 1-12, e. 1-5
  • Dates of Creation
      c. 1st century B.C.-18th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Egyptian (Ancient), Chinese Persian Hindi Japanese  and Turkish
  • Physical Description
      41 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Douce's oriental collection is an eclectic one. Arabic, Chinese, Egyptian, Hindu, Japanese, Malay, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts all feature. Much of the material is pictorial, including some fine 17th-18th century Mughal paintings (e.g. MS. Douce Or. a. 1, 3, b. 1-3). Another important component of the collection is the Egyptian funerary papyri, which include a Document of Breathing, c. 1st century B.C.-2nd century A.D., and a Book of the Dead (MSS. Douce Or. b. 10 (P), d. 7-12 (P)).

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Douce (1757-1834) was an antiquary and collector. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk).

Acquisition Information

The collections bequeathed by Francis Douce in 1834 contained a number of Oriental items, which were later separately classed as 'MSS. Douce Or.'. Two manuscripts, MSS. Douce Or. a. 5, 6 (R), were previously classed as 'Douce Prints', and were transferred to the Bodleian from the Ashmolean Museum in 1915.


Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Brief descriptions are in 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, with references to the oriental and other manuscripts (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. 22010-48.

The manuscripts are also summarily described in the card catalogue, arranged by language, located in the Oriental Reading Room.

E. Sachau, H. Eth and A.F.L. Beeston Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindstn, and Pusht manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1889-1953), vols. 1-2.

The two Malay manuscripts, MSS. Douce Or. e. 4-5, are described in Richard Greentree, and Edward Williams Byron Nicholson Catalogue of Malay manuscripts and manuscripts relating to the Malay language in the Bodleian library (Oxford, 1910).

Related Material

The Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts holds the main body of Francis Douce's manuscripts:

  • Papers of Francis Douce (MSS. Douce b. 6-9, c. 5-12, d. 20-88, e. 9-107, f. 6-26)
  • Douce manuscripts (Douce 310; Douce Adds. 47-8, 99; Douce B. 426, B. 639; Douce BB. 139, BB. 165, BB. 169, BB. 171-2, BB. 188; Douce CC. 388; Douce FF. 59, FF. 63; Douce Prints c. 50, e. 1; Douce S 857-9; MSS. Anglesey a. 2; MSS. Douce 1-390, 390**, 391-3; MSS. Douce a. 1-2, b. 1-4, c. 1-3, d. 1, d. 3-6, d. 8-16, e. 1, e. 37, f. 1-5, g. 1-2, R. 458*; MSS. Douce Charters a. 1, a. 3; MSS. Douce Num. 1-3).


Andrew Topsfield Indian paintings from Oxford collections, (Oxford, 1994).