Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Delhi Persian 595 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library


1 copy of Vilāyat'nāmah by Iʿtiṣām al-Dīn ibn Shaykh Tāj al-Dīn

Language(s): Persian, Arabic, English

Travel account of the aborted maritime voyage from India to the ‘King of England’ in 1180/1765, intended to deliver a sealed diplomatic letter and gifts of a lac rupees in value at the behest of the Timurid (Mughal) Emperor Shāh ʿĀlam (d. 1221/1806) who commissioned the EIC officer Captain Archibald Swinton to lead the mission, accompanied by the author, the munshīʾ Shaykh Iʿtiṣām al-Dīn ibn Shaykh Tāj al-Dīn. The imperial letter and gifts being withheld by Lord Clive, the failed mission instead ended up at Oxford where the author became an important early influence on the orientalist, Sir William Jones.

The work was written at the suggestion of Archibald Swinton in 1199/1785.

Dated colophon (f. 138v): completed 1 Jumādá al-S̲ānī in RY 10 of Emperor Akbar Shāh II, 1231 hijrī, 1816 ʿĪsavī, equating to 29 April 1816.

Rebound in deep red IOL leather boards with combed marble doubleurs.

Rough nastaʿlīq.

Occasional corrections in margins.

The quality of orthographic accuracy is poor.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 138 ff. (+1)
Dimensions (leaf): 290 × 180 mm.



Origin: 1_Jumada-II_1231 AH; 29 April 1816 CE ; India

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased by the Government of India at sale organised by Delhi Prize Agents, 1859; administrative deposit India Office Library, 1876


Government of India


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Funding of Cataloguing



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