Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 807 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The seventh volume of the Rawz̤at al-Ṣafāʼ (Garden of Purity), a general history from the creation of the world to the time of the author, Muḥammad ibn Khāvandshāh (1433–1498), known as Mīr Khvānd. Former owner Sir Gore Ouseley evidently comissioned this volume and Persian MS 808, when he served as the British ambassador to Persia between 1810 and 1814, in order to finish an incomplete set that he purchased from the estate sale of Captain Archibald Swinton shortly before he departed Britain. That uniformly bound set of six volumes comprises Persian MS 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, and 806.
Colophon: برگ ۵۶۷ر (folio 107a): ...تحریر في التاریخ سلخ شهر شوال سنه هزار و هشتاد و سه هجرری.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of medium-weight, straight-grained, highly sized and polished wove paper with watermarks dated 1809, albeit without the name of the manufacturer, but probably produced in Great Britain.
Extent: 107 folios, 6 flyleaves (ff. iv + 107 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 308 × 193 mm.
Dimensions (written): 247 × 135 mm.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides added when catalogued.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


In good condition. Moderate discolouration and cockling throughout.


Written in 1 column with 25 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in black nasta'līq with subheaders in red.


Ruling: Marginal ruling thoughout in gold, outlined with thin interior single lines and double exterior lines, then surrounded by comparatively heavier single lines, all in black.

Additions: Table of Contents: Folios 1b to 4a list the events described within this volume. Inscriptions:
  • Former owner Sir Gore Ouseley inscribed his bookplate on the left pastedown ‘To my friend Colonel Fitz Clarence’.
Bookplates and Pasted Remnants:
  • The fourth right flyleaf b side (f. ivb) bears the remnants of printed descriptions of the work, likely entries from the catalogue of oriental manuscripts Royal Asiatic Society by former owner William Hook Morley that describes the contents of this volume, given identifiable portions from the same location in Persian MS 806
  • Right pastedown: Sir Gore Ouseley.
  • The Left pastedown:
    • ‘ِEarl of Munster’
    • ‘Col. Fitz Clarence’
    • ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplates, with the shelf mark ‘1/D’.
    • An earlier Lindesiana label bears a previous class mark, ‘Persian MS 13’ subsequently crossed out.


Uniformly rebound with Persian MS 808, probably for Sir Gore Ouseley.

Abbreviated resewing on five cords, three laced into pasteboard, edges trimmed and finely spattered, with decorative front-bead decorative endbands sewn in blue and white silk threads at head and tail.

Spine fully gilt, but differs from Persian MS 808. Earl of Munster's arms blocked in gold on a skiver leather label applied to the top panel.

316 × 205 × 21 mm.

Handle with caution. Exterior and board edges abraded, and joints cracked. The initial and final flyleaves appear cut out. Boxed.

The 1st Earl of Munster's arms on the spine.

Blocked in gold on a skiver leather label adhered to the upper panel of the spine, features a crest with a chapeau turned up ermine a lion statant gardant crowned with a ducal coronet and gorged with a collar charged with three anchors and motto ‘Motto NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE’ surmounted by a coronet.

24 × 13 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in Qajar-era Persia; 14 Ṣafar 1229 AH (5 Feb 1814 CE) , and likely commissioned by Sir Gore Ouseley (1770–1844) to complete a set that he purchased from the estate of Captain Archibald Swinton (1731–1804), sold through James Christie Jr (1773–1831) in London on 6 June 1810 (see catalogue, p. 4, ‘2d Set’).

Provenance and Acquisition

Thereafter presented by Ouseley to his friend George Augustus Frederick FitzClarence, 1st Earl of Munster (1794–1842), as per his inscription on the right pastedown, presumably after the latter attained the rank of colonel when appointed Aide-de-Camp to his father, William IV, King of Great Britain (b. 1765, r. 1830–1837), on 26 Jul. 1830, but prior to his elevation to the peerage on 4 June 1831. At the time, both men actively served in the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and of the associated Oriental Translation Committee, for which FitzClarence desired to produce a monograph on the history of warfare in the Islamic world.

After FitzClarence's death on 20 Mar. 1842, his eldest son William George FitzClarence, 2nd Earl of Munster (1824–1901) auctioned a portion of his library through one Mr. Wilmot at their home on 13 Upper Belgrave Street, Belgravia, London on 5 April 1843 which omits this title; however, he later sold another portion through Edmund Hodgson on 22 March 1855. The latter sale catalague contains an entry for this work in ‘8 vols., folio, old morocco (2 half-bound)’ which may reference this set (see catalogue). The seller's copy records it sold for £6-12-6; however, it omits the name of the purchaser.

Nevertheless, barrister and orientalist William Hook Morley (1815–1860) evidently acquired these volumes, as after his death, S. Leigh Sotheby & John Wilkinson sold them on 16 March 1861 (p. 66, lot 1035), where bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) purchased it for £8 2s 1d.

The very next day, 16 March 1861, Quaritch sold the set to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) for £12 12s.

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.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand.


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.


    Christie's, London. A Catalogue of a very valuable collection of Persian, and a few Arabic MSS. selected many years ago, in the East, by Archibald Swinton, Esq. ... which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Christie, June 6, 1810… (London: W. Bulmer, 1810), pp. 3-4, no. 6 (‘2d Set.’).
    [Edmund] Hodgson, A Catalogue of the Valuable and Extensive Library of a Nobleman... (London: Hodgson's, 1855), p. 57, no. 1414.
    John Morris and Philip Oldfield, Fitzclarence, George Augustus Frederick, 1st Earl of Munster (1794 - 1842) (Stamp 1)' British Armorial Bindings. Toronto: The Bibliographical Society of London and University of Toronto Library, Feb. 2012. Accessed 17 Apr. 2022.
    Sotheby and Wilkinson, Catalogue of the valuable oriental, miscellaneous and legal library, of the late W.H. Morley ... also, of his valuable collection of Persian and other oriental manuscripts, and some miscellaneous articles. (London: J. Davy and Sons, printers 1861), p. 66, no 1035.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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