State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 51 & 52 1993


“Of the Numerous Opportunities”: the Origins of the Collection of Medieval Manuscripts at the State Library of Victoria

Since to everything there is a season and an opportunity, as the wise Ecclesiastes witnesseth, let us now proceed to relate the manifold opportunities through which we have been assisted by the divine goodness in the acquisition of books.
- Richard de Bury Philobiblon (1344)1
In the course of any given year the Rare Books Librarian might address a few dozen groups about the medieval manuscripts in the State Library of Victoria. These groups comprise a variety of people — students of various ages, calligraphers, amateurs of medieval art, book lovers, historians, musicologists, graphic designers, printers, binders, and librarians — and their responses to the manuscripts are consequently various. However, one question is always asked: how did the State Library of Victoria come to be in possession of such a group of books? The question is not simply rhetorical. Most visitors are sincerely puzzled as to how medieval books have come to be in a place so far removed in time and space — and temperament — from their medieval origins. The purpose of this paper then is — like de Bury in his Philobiblon — “to relate the manifold opportunities through which we have been assisted by the divine goodness in the acquisition of books”, and perhaps also to understand better the Library's reasons for acquiring the books.
It is a curious fact that not one medieval manuscript was acquired by a public library in Australia before 1902 when the Public Library of Victoria — as the State Library was then called — purchased a modest sixteenth-century Antiphonal from Bennett's, a London antiquarian bookseller, for twelve guineas.2 Within six months the Library had purchased a second manuscript, namely St Jerome's Commentaries on Isaiah, executed at Limbourg in 1497.3 It was almost as if the Library, having decided to purchase an illuminated manuscript, found that the first manuscript did not serve its purpose and decided to purchase a second one. Over the next five decades the Library purchased nearly two dozen more manuscripts to make it one of the largest collections in Australia, but before examining these future purchases the question must be asked: why did the Library not purchase any medieval manuscripts in the first fifty years of its existence? After all, the nineteenth century was the golden age for the Library when Sir Redmond Barry's vision of a British Museum in the Antipodes came closest to fulfilment.4 Furthermore, it was also a time for the collecting of manuscripts as is illustrated by the work of some of the great English collectors, Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872), the Earl of Ashburnham (1797–1878), the Duke of Sussex (1773–1843) and Lord Amherst (1835–1908).5 There were several factors which inhibited the Library. The first was that the great collectors dominated the market and consequently there was very little available for a colonial library. The second point, of course, is that Australia was on the other side of world, far away from Sotheby's and Quaritch's sale rooms. Judging from the catalogues of private collections in colonial Australia and the provenances of manuscripts in existing Australian collections, there were virtually no medieval manuscripts in Australia in the nineteenth century. This situation was probably the result of both isolation and taste. It should be said, however, that Sir Charles Nicholson (1808–1903) was a keen collector of artefacts and manuscripts of which he left a number to the University of Sydney in 1860 thus forming the basis of the Nicholson Museum. Another thirty-two manuscripts were presented by descendants of Sir Charles in 1924 and 1937, but the evidence of the manuscripts themselves strongly suggests that they were purchased by Sir Charles after his return to England in 1862.6 It
should also be pointed out that Australia's greatest bibliophile, David Scott Mitchell (1836–1907), acquired three illuminated manuscripts, presumably as examples of medieval book production.7 The general conclusion however is that the well-documented wealth of bibliographic riches available to colonials did not include medieval manuscripts.8

plate 1a. Annunciation. Book of Hours. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria,*096/R66Ho.f.23v. (See Vera Vines, “ ‘The Daily Round, the Common Task': Three Books of Hours in the State Library of Victoria”, p. 88).

Apart from external factors, the founders of the Melbourne Public Library appear to have made a conscious decision to exclude medieval manuscripts from the collection. The philosophy of the Board of Trustees, heavily influenced by its President Sir Redmond Barry, was essentially utilitarian. The Melbourne Public Library was to concentrate its efforts on putting together a first-class reference library for the use of the nascent and developing culture of colonial Melbourne. To this end the Trustees
deemed it necessary … to acquire the most approved editions of all standard works, and afterwards such books as by reason of the expenses attendant of the production and illustration of them, are highly valuable in yielding information of a special nature, in cultivating the taste and improving the intellectual refinement of the readers, but which by their cost are placed beyond the reach of individuals, professional men, and the general public.
The Trustees, in their first Report published in 1871, briefly outlined the Library's collection policy. It was clearly stated that a number of classes of literature were not acceptable:
63. It is somewhat difficult to convey by this merely classified enumeration the prevailing character of the literature. It may, perhaps, be best comprehended by negatives. Works usually classed as works of fiction and of the imagination, and those which in some catalogues are entered under the head of “literature for juveniles,” are not represented in this library to any considerable extent…
64. Books of injurious tendency are not displayed here. Those of a purely ephemeral description and of transient value, mere literary curiosities or rarities, expensive manuscripts, those simply recommended by their sumptuous binding or illustration, have hitherto been set aside for those which commend themselves for their substantial merit and sterling value.
The same policy was again articulated in the Preface to The Catalogue of the Public Library of Victoria (1880) — one of the most important cultural documents of the colonial period:
They [the Trustees] abstained from displaying on the shelves works … such … as are regarded as mere literary curiosities, or are recommended by their rarity alone, or by their sumptuous binding, or costly manuscripts … These were set aside for such as commended themselves by reason of their substantial merit and sterling value.
The Trustees then had a clear vision of what they were trying to do: they would first put together a first-class reference collection of standard works and then they would acquire more specialised texts. They would not be purchasing rare books and costly manuscripts. The wording, however, of the 1871 Report is interesting; it states that “expensive manuscripts … have hitherto been set aside” (emphasis added). It may be that Barry and his colleagues did intend to extend the collection policy to include more expensive and original materials. Certainly in the new century the Library's Trustees came to believe that they had more-or-less achieved the objectives stated in the 1880 catalogue and that it was time to expand the collection policy so as to include some original materials representative of the medieval period.9
Having purchased its first two manuscripts the Library made two further purchases in 1910. St Augustine's Opera10 and the Regimen Principum of Aegidius Romanus11 were purchased from Bertram Dobell of 54 Charing Cross Road in London. Dobell was a buyer at a number of Sotheby auctions of parts of the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps (of whom more will be said later) and had apparently picked up these two manuscripts. Phillipps himself had picked up the manuscripts in 1823 when he purchased the library of Leander Ess (1772–1847), a Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Marburg. Ess had acquired many of his manuscripts in the wake of the secularisation of religious institutions at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries. It is clear then that Victorians benefited from abrupt social
change which broke up the substantial medieval collections of the German religious houses.12 The Library continued its interest in manuscripts when, in 1912, it purchased for five guineas a small thirteenth-century Bible from Arthur Reader of 58 Charing Cross Road.13
In 1923 a group of medieval manuscripts were acquired under the terms of the Felton Bequest. These manuscripts were part of the Sticht Collection.14 Robert Carl Sticht who was a mining engineer at the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company in Tasmania had a penchant for collecting books, especially early printed books and prints. The Library received, as part of its purchase from the Sticht estate, more than 2,000 leaves and fragments from books printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It appears that Robert Sticht also collected a number of medieval manuscripts, perhaps as examples of early book production and illustration. In the Sticht Collection were to be found the Liber Obsequialis,15 a Commentary on Leviticus,16 Petrus Comestor's Historia Scholastica,17 a fragment of a large format Antiphonal,18 and an eighteenth-century “scrapbook” of illuminated miniatures.19 By and large, according to Sticht's own provenance annotations, these manuscripts were purchased from London in 1903 and 1904 at the very beginning of Sticht's collecting career. Only the Liber Obsequialis can be traced before this time; it had come from the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps who had obtained it from an unknown source around 1830.20
Acquisition of the Sticht Collection stimulated a great deal of interest in the Library in early book production and very probably went some way towards maintaining the interest in medieval manuscripts throughout the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.21 The next acquisition was in 1926 when the Library purchased a late fifteenth-century Flemish Book of Hours from the widow of James T. Hackett. Hackett had been a lawyer and journalist in Adelaide and had contributed greatly to cultural life in that city. His collecting interests were broad though they focused on art rather than books: the 1918 sale catalogue of part of his collection reveals Hackett's interest in painted art, sculpture, illustrated books, medieval manuscripts and Egyptian antiquities. Hackett owned four manuscripts: three were purchased by the Mitchell Library in Sydney at the 1918 sale, and the fourth was that purchased from Hackett's widow by the State Library of Victoria. It may be of interest to medievalists that another purchase from the Hackett Collection was a second Book of Hours, printed by Jean Barbier for Nicolas Vivien in 1508 and illustrated with numerous miniatures.22
These purchases from the Hackett Collection also signal a new phase in the Library's commitment to purchasing fine illuminated manuscripts. Before the Hackett acquisitions the Library had not spent more than £20 on any one manuscript, that price being for St Jerome's Commentary on Isaiah purchased in 1902. While price is not always the best indicator, it should be pointed out that of ten manuscripts purchased to 1926 only four were illuminated. The purchase of two items from the Hackett Collection for £100 and £50 represents a more ambitious commitment.
Some three years later in 1929 the Library was able to take advantage of the appearance in Melbourne of a late fifteenth-century French Book of Hours; the manuscript was bought for £150 from E. A. Parr of Melbourne.23 A note in the Report of the Trustees … for 1929 states that the Hours — along with a number of other rare and valuable books — came from the library of a notable collector. The Library's accession register gives more precise information about these other books, and a check of the books themselves reveals the bookplate of R. M. Chirnside of Linass.24 It is not known how Chirnside came by the Hours but further work on this hitherto unknown collection may prove fruitful.
Early in 1933 another group of manuscripts was purchased under the terms of the Felton Bequest from the antiquarian booksellers, Lionel and Philip Robinson of W. H. Robinson of Pall Mall. This group included a large format Book of Hours from the library of Lord Amherst,25 a smaller Book of Hours,26 and a glossed Epistles of St Paul from twelfth-century Tuscany.27 The manuscripts cost a sum total of £675 — the Amherst Hours alone cost £400 — which in the Depression years is further evidence of the commitment of the Library Trustees to put together a representative collection of
medieval manuscripts. It is indicative of the market that, although the Epistles had been offered in a W. H. Robinson catalogue of 1932 for £75, the Library paid only £60 some twelve months later. Two manuscripts in this group have interesting pasts. Ownership notes in the Epistles indicate that the book had been in the Imperial Library of St Petersburg in the nineteenth century. It might be supposed that the book was shaken loose during the upheavals following the October Revolution of 1917. The small French Book of Hours had been held successively by two Dijon families in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and yet surfaced in England in 1826 when it was acquired by one Abrahame Lincoln. Was this book another refugee from a France ravaged by Revolution and war?
In 1936 the Library purchased two more manuscripts from W. H. Robinson. The first was de Guilleville's Pilgrimage of the Life of Man which had been brought to Melbourne by Sir Sydney Cockerell early in his term as the Felton Bequest Adviser.28 The Pilgrimage had been in the libraries of the Roucliffe and Clifford families, and it is a great coincidence that the Clifford family library should also find its way to Australia, having been purchased by the National Library in 1964.29 Also in 1936 the Library acquired from W. H. Robinson the Liège Psalter for £390 stg, significantly less than the £525 being asked by Robinson's in 1934. This book had been in French collections throughout the nineteenth century, had been sold by Sotheby's in 1933 to Gabriel Wells of New York, but was back in Robinson's hands by 1934.
Before continuing with the story of the Library's manuscript acquisitions, reference should be made to the large number of Phillipps manuscripts in the State Library of Victoria.30 Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872), the greatest of the nineteenth-century English bibliophiles, had in the course of more than fifty years collected a massive number of manuscripts. The exact number is not known but there were about 24,000 entries in Phillipps' Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum and many individual entries represented hundreds of manuscripts bound in multi-volume sets. The range of the collection was similarly awesome: Phillipps' interests were essentially antiquarian and so he collected a vast number of early cartularies and title deeds, as well as the collections of several significant antiquarians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; but there were also papyrus rolls, Assyrian tablets, autograph letters, printed books, literary manuscripts, and of course medieval manuscripts from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries. In fact, the Bibliotheca Phillippica included medieval manuscripts from every significant region and period, and many have found their way into the important collections of the Huntington Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale.
After Phillipps' death in 1872 the library remained in the family and was administered by Phillipps' son-in-law, the Rev. John Fenwick. It proved to be a tremendous burden on the family because Phillipps had made inadequate provision for supervision and maintenance. However, the Settled Land Acts of 1882 and 1884 provided the mechanism by which trustees could sell chattels settled as heirlooms. Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick, who succeeded his father as the library's custodian in 1880. spent his entire adult life dispersing the collection by private sale and public auction. It was by means of some of these early sales that a number of Phillipps manuscripts found their way to Australia, as described above. Fenwick's death in 1938, and the onset of war in 1939, brought this great work to an end. Alan George Fenwick, the new custodian, sold the considerable remnants of the library to Lionel and Philip Robinson of W. H. Robinson for £100.000. The Robinsons quickly converted their investment into profit by means of several astute private sales and a number of auctions.31
It was the auction of 1 July 1946 at which thirty-four select illuminated manuscripts were offered that the Public Library of Victoria made its next manuscript purchases. On the advice of Sir Sydney Cockerell, the Library acquired the Historia Augusta (Lot 26) commissioned by the Medici family,32 an Antiphonal (Lot 12) from the Dominican convent at Poissy,33 and a Pontificate (Lot 29) commissioned by Philippe de Lévis, Bishop of Mirepoix.34 The cost to the Library was
£2100 stg (£2360 AUST) for these three manuscripts, an amount which is testament to the Library's considerable confidence after the war.35
These three manuscripts were acquired by Phillipps in the early part of his collecting career. The history of each perfectly illustrates the dynamics of the movement of cultural materials at this time. The Poissy Antiphonal had been commissioned by the Dominican convent at Poissy near Paris in the fourteenth century and had remained in the convent's collections till they were dispersed at about the time of the French Revolution. Its history for the next thirty years is not clear though the book was still in Paris when Phillipps bought it in the early 1820s. At about this time Phillipps also purchased the de Lévis Pontifical from de Bure of Paris, though the history of this book from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries is not known.
In contrast, the path of the Historia Augusta from the Medici to Phillipps is fairly clear. Having been commissioned in 1478, a record of the book is not to be found in the 1495 inventory of the de' Medici library. Perhaps the book found its way into a collateral branch of the family. Apparently the book remained in Italy because it is next found in the library of Dom Tommaso de Lucca in 1816. Dom Tommaso's library was acquired by the entrepreneurial Abate L. Celotti who took it to London where better prices were to be had.36 The Historia Augusta was sold at the Sotheby sale of the de Lucca library in 1825, and was in the possession of booksellers, Thomas Thorpe and Payne & Foss.37 It was from the latter firm that Phillipps purchased the Historia Augusta in 1828.
The biographies of the Historia Augusta and the Poissy Antiphonal illustrate the impact of catastrophic events such as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars; they also illustrate some of the processes by which manuscripts and books moved around Europe, apparently being drawn to the affluent London market.
By 1949 the Library had established a modest reputation for purchasing medieval manuscripts. So it was that, early in March, W. H. Robinson sent to the Public Library of Victoria a small collection of eight Phillipps manuscripts for display and possible sale. According to press reports the consignment included Boethius De Musics, a Commentary on Matthew, Josephus' History of the Jews, some Anglo-Norman romances, a set of early English Statutes, Martin of Aachen's Treatise of War, Ptolemy's Almagest, and a thirteenth-century Italian Missal.38 These manuscript books generated great public interest when they were displayed in the Library, but the Trustees, while acknowledging the compliment, reported that it had no money to purchase them. Almost immediately a public subscription was set up and, while donations did not exactly flood in, there was a gratifying response from both private and corporate donors. By the beginning of June more than £1,000 had been subscribed: the most generous donations were from Geoffrey Cohen (£337), A. Michaelis (£100), Dr Roy Michaelis (£100), and an anonymous donor from Western Australia (£100) who hoped that “a few Victorians might follow the lead”.39 The papers also reported many smaller individual and corporate donations ranging from one shilling upwards. However, while the subscription might be considered a modest success, the £1,000 raised fell far short of the £7,300 required to purchase all eight manuscripts. The Library therefore undertook to allocate a further £2,000 and also ceded the Missal to the Franciscan community which had arranged their own public subscription to raise the necessary £560.40
Of the eight manuscripts, the Library chose for itself the Boethius (£1,560),41 the Josephus (£525),42 and the Ptolemy (£1,250).43 Furthermore, the English Statutes (£337)44 was purchased by Geoffrey Cohen and presented to the Library. These were the last manuscripts acquired by the State Library of Victoria. The Missal found a home with the Franciscans at St Paschal's at Box Hill, though there has been an understanding over the past thirty-four years that the book should be freely available for public exhibition and that it should stay in the state of Victoria.45 The remaining three manuscripts were reluctantly returned to London.
As the manuscripts in this consignment were all from the Phillipps collection, their provenances can generally be traced. Boethius' De Musica, which originated in northern Italy in the twelfth century, was brought to England by Celotti and was acquired by the Rev. Henry Drury (1778–1841), Fellow of King's College and Master of the lower school at Harrow.46 Sir Thomas Phillipps had coveted Drury's collection en bloc but in 1827 Drury insisted that it go to auction. Phillipps purchased some sixty-nine manuscripts at the sale; among them was the De Musica. Ptolemy's Almagest, which originated in Italy in the thirteenth century, was to be found early in its life in the library of St Marco at Florence.47 In 1833 James Thomas Payne, the London bookseller paid £125 to Giambattista Petrucci, a dealer in Rome, for some twenty St Marco books, including the Almagest. The fact that the St Marco books were still together might suggest that they had only just been removed from Florence. Phillipps purchased these books from Payne soon after they were brought from Italy. Josephus' Wars of the Jews, which had been produced in Catalonia in the fifteenth century, was purchased by Phillipps in the 1827 sale of the library of the Rev. Theodore Williams (1785–1875) of Hendon. The book's earlier history is not known. Similarly, very little is known about the English Statutes except that Phillipps purchased the book from Thomas Thorpe some time before 1824.
If the study of provenances appears to be a frivolous pastime, it should be remembered that the study of books is essentially the study of Western civilisation. What might be called the archaeology of a book can tell us many things. It can authenticate the book itself. It can demonstrate the dynamic movement of cultural materials through space and time, thus underlining cultural and social predilections and prejudices. In the absence of all other evidence it can even illustrate the nature of the intimate relationship between reader and text.
Brian Hubber
State Library of Victoria


Richard de Bury (1287–1345). Philobiblon, Oxford, 1960. p. 81. The quote used in the title is taken from Chapter VIII: Of the Numerous Opportunities we have had of Collecting a Store of Books.


K. V. Sinclair, Descriptive Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Western Manuscripts in Australia. Sydney. 1969, no. 201: this manuscript is not illuminated and has therefore not been included in Margaret M. Manion and Vera F. Vines, Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts in Australian Collections, Melbourne. 1984. Most of the information about the provenances of the Library's manuscripts has been taken from these two reference works.


Sinclair p. 201; Manion and Vines p. 60.


For Barry's vision of a British Museum in the Antipodes see: Wallace Kirsop, “Barry's Great ‘Emporium’ in the Twenty-First Century: the Future of the State Library of Victoria Collections”, La Trobe Library Journal. No. 46. Spring 1991, pp. 49–59; and Paul Fox, “The State Library of Victoria: Science and Civilisation”, Transition, Spring 1988, pp. 14–26.


Seymour de Ricci, English Collectors of Books & Manuscripts (1530–1930), Cambridge, At the University Press. 1930.


The Nicholson manuscripts came to the University of Sydney in three batches: the first batch — mainly English legal documents — were certainly in the Nicholson Museum by 1870 when the museum's first catalogue was issued: the second batch of thirty-one manuscripts was presented by the Nicholson family in 1924; and the third batch of a single manuscrit was presented by C. A. and S. H. Nicholson in 1937.


Manion and Vines, p. 15.


Wallace Kirsop has published many articles and monographs on the bibliographic wealth of the Australian colonies: the most complete statement will appear in the forthcoming publication of his 1981 Sandars Lectures, entitled “Books for Colonial Readers: the Nineteenth-Century Australian Experience”. Also see: Towards a History of the Australian Book Trade, Sydney. 1969; “Consignment Sales and Britain's Nineteenth-Century Colonial Book Trade”, in the Library Association of Australia's Proceedings of the Nineteenth Biennial Conference held in Tasmania. August 1977: Libraries in Society, Hobart. 1977: “In Search of Redmond Barry's Private Library”, La Trobe Library Journal, No. 26, October 1980, pp. 27–35; “The Book Trade: Conservative Force or Agent of Change?”, Australian Cultural History, No. 2, 1983, pp.90–103; and “Introductory Essay”, in: John Pascoe Fawkner's Library: Facsimile of the Sale Catalogue of 1868, Melbourne, Book Collectors Society of Australia, 1985.


Kirsop in “Barry's Great Emporium’ in the Twenty-first Century: the Future of the State Library of Victoria Collections”, ibid, pp. 54–5, points out that Edmund La Touche Armstrong had a philosophy quite different to that of Barry. Armstrong closed off the stacks to the public and pursued a more research-oriented policy compared to Barry's utilitarian and egalitarian ethos.


Sinclair p. 203: Phillipps p. 621. References to Phillipps manuscripts are taken from A. N. L. Munby. Phillipps Studies, Cambridge, At the University Press, 1951–60, Vols. III and IV.


Sinclair p. 202; Phillipps p. 550.


For Leander Ess and the secularisation of the German religious houses see Phillipps Studies, Vol. III, pp. 29–33.


Sinclair p. 204; Manion and Vines p. 67. The Library's accession register indicates that the manuscript (Accession No. 245734) was purchased from “Reader”. There was an Arthur Reader at 58 Charing Cross Road in 1912: see The Post Office London Directory, 1912.


To some extent it is arbitrary to investigate the provenances of the Library's manuscripts without also looking at the collection of the Library's sister institution, the National Gallery of Victoria. After all, before 1944, the Gallery and the Library were managed by one Board of Trustees. In the Gallery's collection there are at present five illuminated manuscripts — the Wharncliffe Hours (purchased in 1920). the Aspremont Book of Hours (1922), a magnificent execution of Livy's History of Rome (1937), the Byzantine Gospels (1959) and the Albizzi-Strozzi Offices of the Virgin (1960). All of these manuscripts were purchased by funds provided by the Felton Bequest. The Felton Bequest had been set up in 1904 for the purpose of acquiring works of art and the Felton Bequest Committee saw fit to interpret the terms of the Bequest in a liberal manner. Between 1920, when the Wharncliffe Hours was purchased, and 1944 when the Gallery was incorporated, the Bequest was also used to purchase books and manuscripts now in the collections of the State Library of Victoria. These purchases were recommended by the Library's Books Committee to the Felton Purchase Committee which then referred the recommendation to the Felton Bequest Committee who either gave or declined to give their approval. Materials bought by this mechanism were entered into the Library's accession registers and have always been considered to belong to the Library. The generous help of Michael Watson of the Library of the National Gallery of Victoria and Gerard Hayes of the Manuscripts Collection of the State Library of Victoria is here acknowledged.


Sinclair p. 209; Phillipps 3949.


Sinclair p. 205.


Sinclair p. 206.


Sinclair p. 207; Manion and Vines p. 7.


Sinclair p. 208; Manion and Vines pp. 10, 16, 18 and 19.


For Robert Carl Sticht see: A. H. Spencer, The Hill of Content: Books, Art, Music, People, Sydney, 1959; Australian Dictionary of Biography, Melbourne, 1966–1991; Australian Encyclopedia, Sydney, 1965, Vol. 7, pp.293–4; and Charles Bage, Historical Record of the Felton Bequests from their Inception to 31st December, 1922, Melbourne, 1923. More work might be done on Sticht's collection and collecting habits.


Most of this interest in historical bibliography was generated by Albert Broadbent Foxcroft who produced two scholarly catalogues based substantially on the Sticht Collection: A Catalogue of English Books and Fragments from 1477 to 1535 in the Public Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 1933; A Catalogue of Fifteenth-Century Books and Fragments in the Public Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 1936. Foxcroft wrote also The Study of Fifteenth-Century Books, Melbourne, 1937–38.


J. T. Hackett was a significant art and book collector who deserves closer scrutiny. Relevant sources might be: Catalogue of Choice and Rare Books … the Property of J. T. H. … to be sold by Auction by F. J. Botting & Co. … September 15, 1891. Adelaide, 1891; J. T. Hackett's A Commonplace Book. Adelaide, 1916 (and subsequent editions); Catalogue of J. T. Hackett's Art Collection, to be sold by Auction by James R. Lawson 196–8 Castlereagh Street Sydney on Tuesday, September 17 and following days, Adelaide, 1918; Sotheby and Co., Catalogue of Valuable Printed Books and a Few Manuscripts, also of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents … Third Day's Sale. Wednesday, August 1st. 1923. The Property of J. T. Hackett Esq., London, Sotheby's, 1923; and “An Adelaide Litterateur”, in James Sadler (comp.). Some Annals of Adelaide, Adelaide, 1933, pp. 139–41.


Sinclair p. 212: Manion and Vines p. 87.


For R. M. Chirnside see: H. B. Ronald. Wool Past the Winning Post: a History of the Chirnside Family. South Yarra. 1978.


Sinclair p. 213; Manion and Vines p. 56. This and the following item were recommended to the Felton Purchase Committee by the Library's Books Committee at the former's meeting of 17 March 1933. As these two books had already been received by the Library some two weeks before, it is clear that approval was sought retrospectively.


Sinclair p. 214; Manion and Vines p. 74.


Sinclair p. 215; Manion and Vines p. 2. See also: William H. Robinson, Illuminated Manuscripts Incunabula and Other Valuable Books from the Libraries of the Czars of Russia. (Catalogue No. 39). London, 1932, pp. 1–2. This book was received with those referred to in notes 25 and 26 above: however, there is no record of a recommendation for purchase being made to the Felton Purchase Committee.


J. S. McDonnell when Director of the National Gallery had complained to the President of the Board of Trustees that Felton Bequest funds were being used to buy books for the Library. He cited the incident in which Sir Sydney Cockerell bought the Pilgrimage with him from London late in 1936. Cockerell was influential in the purchase of a number of medieval manuscripts now in Victorian collections. He had been consulted by Frank Rinder in 1920 about the Wharnecliffe Hours; he brought the Pilgrimage to Melbourne in 1936; he recommended the purchase of Livy's History of Rome in 1937; and in 1946 he apparently advised the Library to purchase manuscripts at the Sotheby's auction of I July 1946.


C. A. Burmester National Library of Australia: Guide to the Collections, Canberra, 1974–1982, Vol. I, p. 157.


K. V. Sinclair. “Phillipps Manuscripts in Australia”, The Book Collector, Vol. XI, 1962.


This potted account of the Phillipps collection is based on A. N. L. Munby, Phillipps Studies, Cambridge. At the University Press, 1951–60.


Sinclair p. 219; Manion and Vines p. 31; Phillipps 2163.


Sinclair p. 218; Manion and Vines p. 71; Phillipps 223.


Sinclair p. 220; Manion and Vines p. 85; Phillipps 4418.


Bibliotheca Phillippica: Catalogue of a Further Portion of the Renowned Library Formed by the Late Sir Thomas Phillipps … comprising thirty-four Illuminated Manuscripts of the Highest Interest & Importance which will be Sold by Auction by Messrs. Sotheby & Co. … the 1st of July. 1946, London, 1946. One of the State Library of Victoria's copies of this catalogue contains a list of prices and buyers' names. W. H. Robinson purchased the Historia Augusta and Pontificale for the same prices as those which the Library eventually paid. This suggests that W. H. Robinson was acting on the Library's behalf: otherwise it might be expected that the bookseller would charge a commission. More interestingly, the Antiphonal was bought by Maggs for £170. This item was bought by the Library from W. H. Robinson for £250.


For sales of material brought to England by Celotti see List of Catalogues of English Book Sales 1676–1900 now in the British Museum. London, British Museum, 1915, pp. 146. 160 and 162. To this list might be added the following, the title of which demonstrates clearly the business at which Celotti excelled: A Catalogue of a … Collection of Illumined Miniature Paintings taken from the Choral Books of the Papal Chapel in the Vatican during the French Revolution: and subsequently collected and brought to this country by the Abate Celotti. London, Christie's, 1825.


London antiquarian booksellers had access to the rich resources available in Paris. For example, James Payne was a close correspondent with Jean-Basile-Bernard Van Praet, the Keeper of Printed Books at the Bibliothéque Nationale.


Argus, 31 March 1949.


Argus, 21 April 1949.


Sinclair p. 181; Manion and Vines p. 4; Phillipps 12289.


Sinclair p. 223; Manion and Vines p. 35; Phillipps 3345.


Sinclair p. 221; Manion and Vines p. 96; Phillipps 3505.


Sinclair p. 224; Manion and Vines p. 36; Phillipps 6551.


Sinclair p. 222; Manion and Vines p. 48; Phillipps 109.


Sun, 4 June 1949; and Post, 16 June 1949.


For Drury see Dictionary of National Biography and T. F. Dibdin's Bibliographical Decameron, 1817. Dibdin referred to Drury as Menalcas.


B. T. Ullman, The Public Library of Renaissance Florence: Niccoló Niccoli, Cosimo de Medici and the Library of San Marco, Padova, Antenore, 1972.