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Special Collections news

The Library’s Department of Special Collections is delighted to announce three new acquisitions: a facsimile of a manuscript, an 18th century printed book, and a collection of books relating to the East India Company.

Luttrell Psalter facsimile, open

The facsimile is of the Luttrell Psalter, one of the greatest treasures in the British Library. The original manuscript was commissioned by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (1276–1345) and produced in England over a number of years, probably between 1330 and 1345. The spectacular decoration combines religious imagery with scenes of domestic and agricultural life, and a menagerie of grotesque creatures. The facsimile was produced by the Folio Society in collaboration with the British Library, and is of extremely high quality.

Franz van Stampart’s Prodromus was printed in Vienna in 1735. The work is a catalogue of the great collection of paintings and sculpture belonging to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, including paintings by Titian and Rembrandt. It is unusual in that the catalogue is visual as well as textual: the first two plates are plans of the galleries with views of six rooms, followed by plates showing the walls of the galleries, completely covered by framed paintings.

Mrs Mary Mackay, the granddaughter of Dr James Younger of Mount Melville, has generously given to the Library a collection of books and documents, to be known as the Mount Melville Collection. The collection comprises over 25 boxes of material, and includes printed government papers relating to India, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and elsewhere; selected volumes of journals including Asiatic Researches and the Geographical Journal, ranging in date from 1799 to the 1950s; a large collection of books, mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries and primarily dealing with India, Afghanistan and Persia; various maps, including an Atlas of Bengal from 1781, a map of the Trans-Siberian Railway from 1883, and maps and plans relating to the “operations of the British army in India during the Maharatta War of 1817, 1818, and 1819”. There are also some newspaper cuttings, photographs, and ephemera such as railway timetables.