Persian manuscripts collected by John Bardoe Elliott, including many items formerly belonging to Sir Gore Ouseley

Scope and Content

The manuscripts are largely Persian, with some Turkish, Arabic and Hindu material. Subjects represented include history, philosophy, poetry and theology. There are fine examples of Persian and Indian illumination, particularly late 15th-16th century Persian art - one notable example being a copy of the poet Jami's Baharistan, or Spring-garden, from the library of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan (MS. Elliott 254), 1595, which was illustrated by leading artists of the time. The collection also contains four volumes of the Hamseh (Quintet) of the Central Asian poet Nevai (MS. Elliott 287, 317, 339, 408) copied in about 1485.

The full shelfmarks of the collection are: MSS. Elliott 1-7, 9, 11-14, 17-21, 25, 27-33, 35-53, 55-132, 134-5, 139-61, 163-211, 213-20, 223-9, 231-9, 241-2, 245-75, 278-85, 287-8, 291-9, 302-14, 317-20, 325, 327-49, 352-7, 359-423

Administrative / Biographical History

John Bardoe Elliott (fl 19th century) was employed in the Bengal Civil Service.

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 manuscripts were bequeathed to the Library; they were received in Sept. or Oct. 1859.


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

Other Finding Aids

Brief descriptions of the manuscripts are given 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. V, nos. 24779-25165.

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

All of the Elliot manuscripts, except MS. Elliott 123, are described in 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.

Custodial History

Elliott acquired many of Sir Gore Ouseley's manuscripts; unfortunately the Gore Ouseley manuscripts were not kept separately by Elliott, and can now be only partly distinguished be evidences in the volumes themselves. His collection, like Sir Gore's, was largely formed at Lucknow between 1801 and 1859.

Related Material

A supplementary box of manuscripts arrived at the Library in March 1860. It is thought that these were perhaps put in the 'MSS. Ouseley Adds.' collection, where the principal collection of the oriental manuscripts of Sir Gore Ouseley may also be found (MSS. Ouseley Adds.1-14, 16-34, 36-45, 47-56, 58, 60-9, 71-99, 102-3, 105-33, 135-67, 169-83).