Canonici Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Canon. (see below for full shelfmarks)
  • Dates of Creation
      8th-18th century
  • Language of Material
      Latin, Ancient Greek (to 1453), French, Italian, Dutch, and Church Slavic or Old Slavonic or Church Slavonic or Old Bulgarian or Old Church Slavonic.
  • Physical Description
      1328 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Manuscripts collected by Canonici, consisting of:

  • Greek
  • Latin Classics
  • Latin Bibles
  • Latin Patristic and Ecclesiastical
  • Liturgical
  • Miscellaneous
  • Italian
  • Oriental (not included in list of shelfmarks below)

The shelfmarks of this collection are as follows: MSS. Canon. Bibl. Lat. 1-93; Canon. Class. Lat. 1-311; Canon. Gr. 1-128; Canon. Ital. 1-301; Canon. Liturg. 1-3, 5, 8-13, 15-18, 20-5, 28, 30-7, 41, 43, 49, 55, 63, 72, 75-6, 91-3, 99, 105, 108, 114, 116, 118, 123-6, 128-9, 131, 134-43, 146-8, 150-1, 155-9, 161-72, 175, 178, 183, 188, 190-2, 197, 199-227, 229, 231, 233, 237, 239-49, 251-2, 254-5, 257-79, 281, 283-7, 289-94, 296-7, 301, 305-6, 308, 311-34, 336, 339-56, 358-64, 366-71, 373-80, 382-9, 391-3, 395, 410, 411-14; Canon. Misc. 1-576; Canon. Pat. Lat. 1-232

Administrative / Biographical History

Matteo Luigi Canonici was born at Venice on 5 August 1727 and became a Jesuit in 1743. His natural bent was towards history and antiquities, and when Accademico of the College of St. Catherine at Parma he formed a first collection of medals and books, but in 1768, when the Jesuit Order was suppressed in the kingdom of Naples and Duchy of Parma, it was confiscated. Canonici, who had retired to Bologna, only received a small sum of money in return. Next he collected pictures, but this scandalized his superiors, and he was forced to get rid of them, obtaining in exchange a museum of medals. In 1773 a further suppression of the Order took place, and Canonici retired to Venice, where he set himself to study history, and collected coins, statuary, printed books and manuscripts, chiefly during autumn journeys to Rome, Naples, Florence or elsewhere. He acquired for instance en bloc the collections of the Duke of Modena, and the library of Giacomo Soranzo of Venice, which was itself partly derived from the Biblioteca Recanati. He always holed that the Jesuits would be restored, and inteded in that case to make them his heir, but eventually died at Treviso, in October 1805, without making a will.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The Library purchased the greater part of the manuscripts in 1817, for 5444 5s., or including incidental expenses about 6030, the largest single purchase ever made by the Library.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

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. 18454-20496, 20638-41.

Henry O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars tertia codices Graecos et Latinos Canonicianos complectens (Oxford, 1854).

Allessandro Mortara, Catalogo dei manoscritti italiani che sotto la denominazione di Codici Canoniciani Italici si conservano nella Biblioteca a Oxford (Oxford, 1864).

Custodial History

Canonici's collections passed to his brother Giuseppe, and on his death in 1807 to Giovanni Perissinotti and Girolamo Cardina, who divided them. To the former fell the manuscripts.