Bodleian Library logo

Collection Level Description: Douce Manuscripts

Reference: 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
Title: Douce Manuscripts
Dates of Creation: 8th-19th century
Extent: 453 shelfmarks

Language of Material: Latin, English, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Portugese, Spanish, Scots and Occitan

Administrative/Biographical History

Francis Douce (1757-1834), antiquary and collector, was a younger son of Thomas Douce, and grandson of Francis Douce, MD. He was educated for mercantile pursuits and subsequently for the Bar, but his tastes were from the first literary and antiquarian. He married in 1799, and was for a short time (about 1807-11) Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, where he took part in the preparation of the Lansdowne and Harleian Catalogues. In 1823 he came into a considerable property as residuary legatee of Nollekens the sculptor, and thenceforward freely indulged his propensity for collecting manuscripts, books connected with English literature, especially Shakespeare, and curiosities of every description. He formed a very large library, of which illuminated books of Hours, French romances, and early English literature, were especial features of the manuscript part. His chief published works were the Illustrations of Shakespeare (1807) and the Dance of Death (1833). Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography. Douce and his collections are discussed in Bodleian Quarterly Record, 7 (1932-4), 359-82, in A. N. L. Munby, Connoisseurs and medieval miniatures 1750-1850 (Oxford, 1972), 35-56, and in The Douce legacy [exhibition catalogue] (Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1984).

Scope and Content

Manuscripts, and some printed books, collected by Douce, including books of Hours, sermons, and papers relating to medicine, literature, theology, French romances, and law.

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was bequeathed to the Library by Douce in 1834.

Access Conditions

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

Further Information

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. 21575-22071.

Related Units of Description

See also Papers of Francis Douce (MSS. Douce b. 6-9, c. 5-12, d. 20-88, e. 9-107, f. 6-26).

Access Points

Books of hours







Douce | Francis | 1757-1834 | Antiquary

Contact Information
Search Online Catalogues

Consulting material: To consult archives and manuscripts, a full and unrestricted Bodleian reader's card (Group A) is required. You should apply for your card at the Admissions Office.

Pre-ordering: Before your visit you may order up to ten items by emailing Please be advised that some collection material is held offsite; we advise pre-ordering at least two working days before your visit to ensure material is available on your arrival.

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
09 June 2011