Bodleian Image Library



Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

in the Bodleian Library, Oxford  


The Collection

This image collection is the fruit of collaboration between the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and ARTstor, New York, involving the digitization of images from 35mm filmstrip negatives and positive slides. It is a ‘Beta’ site to which images will be added in batches during 2008: when complete, the collection will consist of some 25,000 images. The site uses Insight® software provided by Luna Imaging, Inc. (see The images are also available on the subscription-only ARTstor site ( where they can be studied in conjunction with a wide array of images of manuscripts and works of art from other libraries and museums. 
Though some images on this site are of text pages, the accent is on illuminated manuscripts: out of a total of just under 10,000 western medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the Library’s collection, approximately 2,650 are represented here. Some more modern material is included, such as bindings, examples of the revival of calligraphy and illumination in the 19th and 20th centuries, and antiquarian drawings of medieval monuments. A small number of images are derived from material in the Oxford University Archives, but manuscripts belonging to Oxford colleges are not represented, even if those manuscripts are kept on deposit in the Bodleian.    
The filmstrips, illustrating a particular manuscript or a particular theme, were compiled and published by the Library from the 1960s onwards, and were accompanied by handlists on which the descriptive information (metadata) in the digital collection is based. The metadata categories are as follows: shelfmark; work type; material; page size; author; text title; country or nationality of origin; place of origin; date; folio/page number; whole page/detail; image description. Information is not yet available in all these categories for every image. The Library would be glad to be advised of any errors in the information provided: corrections and queries should be addressed to

Users are welcome to duplicate these images on their own public websites and to copy them for any other non-commercial purpose without requesting further permission, provided the source is given as ‘Bodleian Library, University of Oxford’ and the shelfmarks and folio/page numbers cited. For information on obtaining higher-quality reproductions and requesting permission to use them, please see the Library’s Imaging Services site at

The Bodleian Library would like to express its gratitude to David Rumsey for his generous support in enabling the use of the Luna Insight software for this resource.

Technical Support

If you experience technical difficulties while using this resource, please make sure that you have disabled any pop-up blocking software. PC users may hold down the control key while launching collections to disable pop-up blocking. If you continue to experience difficulties, please report your problem by sending an e-mail to

Other Related Digital Resources

A number of manuscripts in the Bodleian and in Oxford college collections have been scanned in their entirety directly from the originals: these can be viewed at the Early Manuscripts at Oxford University site ( Further information on the manuscripts in the collection is to be found in the online catalogue (also in course of construction) at Information on the Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections, including guidance for those wishing to visit the Library, is available at A complete iconographical card index to all the Bodleian’s illuminated manuscripts, whether reproduced on this site or not, is available to readers in the Library: to make an appointment please write to


To view the collection with the InsightTM Browser click here.

Note: This browser uses a standard web browser and requires no plug-ins or downloads, but does require pop-ups to be enabled.


To view the collection with the InsightTM Java Client click here to download.

Note: The Java Client provides additional functionality and advanced features but must be downloaded.  Current download for Windows only, Mac OSX version coming soon.


Collection access:

username: medieval
password: medieval


Last updated: 14 Feb 2008