Oriental manuscripts of Sir Gore Ouseley

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Ouseley Adds.1-14, 16-34, 36-45, 47-56, 58, 60-9, 71-99, 102-3, 105-18, 120-33, 135-67, 169-83, 187
  • Dates of Creation
      15th-18th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Persian, Arabic, and Pushto.
  • Physical Description
      172 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Oriental manuscripts of Sir Gore Ouseley, with some manuscripts which belonged to John Bardoe Elliott, or to both men, 15th-18th century. Almost all the manuscripts are Persian, though there is also some Arabic, and Pushto material. The principal subjects of the manuscripts are history, philosophy and poetry. The collection includes some fine examples of Persian and Indian illumination, including a manuscript of Firdausi's famous great epic poem, the Shah-nama (MS. Ouseley Adds. 176), which is an example of the Timurid early-fifteenth-century school of Persian painting; and Indian picture-books produced for the courts of Jahangir and Shah Jahan, both of the Mughal school (MSS. Ouseley Add. 170-1, 173) and its successor, the Rajput school (MS. Ouseley Add. 166).

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Gore Ouseley (1770-1844) was a diplomat and oriental scholar. See the Dictionary of National Biography for details.

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 collection contains manuscripts purchased in 1858. It is also possible that Sir Gore's son, Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley, sold some of his father's manuscripts to the Library at various times; and also that a supplementary consignment of Elliott manuscripts, which arrived in 1860, was placed here and not merged into the Elliott collection.


Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, 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, 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. V, nos. 24489-659.

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. 1-3.

Related Material

See also the Persian manuscripts given by John Bardoe Elliott, including many items formerly belonging to Sir Gore Ouseley (MSS. Elliott 1-9, 11-14, 17-21, 25, 27-33, 35-53, 55-132, 134--5, 139-61, 163-211, 213-20, 223-9, 231-9, 241-3, 245-75, 278-88, 291-9, 302-14, 317-20, 325, 327-49, 352-7, 359-423).