Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 266 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A clearly-written, albeit unembellished copy of the Laylā va Majnūn by Hātifī, (d. 1520–21), a nephew of ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī (d. 1492), whom composed the opening couplet. Widely esteemed, especially in the Ottoman empire for his more explicit and straightforward manner than earlier versions, it particularly influenced the Azerbaijani Turkish poet Fużūlī. Likely completed in India in the late 18th to early 19th century, where its first documented owner, Captain H. F. Cane (d. 1828), apprently acquired it.
Incipit: برگ ۱ب (folio 1b):
ملاها تقی جامی نامش * و خواهرزادهٔ ملا عبد الرحمن جامی است
Explicit: برگ ۶۹ب (folio 69a): کردند نداء این کهن‌ویر * کا حسنت احسنت تمّ بالخیر
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Sir William Jones English translation published in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1788, together with translations of the better-known version of Niẓāmī, influenced British romantic-era author Issac D'Israeli's English adaptation, which in turn profoundly impacted subsequent oriental-themed works by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.

Physical Description

Form: codex

Thin Indian laid paper, lightly sized with starch and minimally burnished, and used crossed-grain. Laid lines approximately 1 mm apart, with barely discernible chain lines, approximately 28 mm apart.

Endleaves of late 19th–early 20th c. machine-made cream coloured paper.

Extent: 79 folios (ff. ii + 78 + ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 236 × 155 mm.
Dimensions (written): 155 × 86 mm.

Foliation marked in pencil at top-left corner of the a sides in Arabic numerals.


Catchwords on b side of nearly every folio.


Moderate insect damage along the outer edges, apparently repaired when the volume was rebound. The binding is in excellent condition.


Written in 1 to 2 columns, with 7 to 16 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Nasta‘liq script in black ink, in a medium, clear hand for the majority of the text, with rubricated chapter headings

Nasta‘liq script in black ink, in a medium but clear hand that transcribed an unrelated couplet by Sa‘di on folio 79b.

Nasta‘liq script in black ink, in a heavy, rudimentary hand that transcribed six unidentified couplets on folio 79b.

  • Inscribed by former owner Captain H. F. Cane (d. 1828) on folio 1a: ‘Lilu Mignoon by Hatefee –H. F. Cane.’
  • Folio 69b bears additional Persian couplets.
Bookplates: The left flyleaf: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/I’.


While it lacks a binder's ticket, the style matches others rebound for Lord Crawford by Fazakerley of Liverpool, half-bound in dark blue morocco-grain goatskin leather. Paper sides of British-made dark blue moirée Spanish patterned with printed marbled gold veins.

gold fillet lines. Spine features blind and gilt fillet lines with full titling.

241 × 162 × 11 mm.

In good condition.


Origin: Probably India; late 18th to early 19th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly belonged to Captain H. F. Cane (d. 1828) who inscribed the volume on folio 1a, then later acquired by the Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death his oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898. Emended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2020 with reference to the manuscript.


To book an in-person or online appointment to consult the manuscript, visit Using the Special Collections Reading Rooms. For any other enquiries please email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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