Canopus, Lepus, Orion, and Canis from BL Royal 13 A XI, f. 111
Drawings of a man with water flowing from his mouth, a leaping rabbit, a man with a sword, and a dog, representing the constellations Canopus, Lepus, Orion, and Canis. Image taken from f. 111 of Miscellany works on Computus and astrology. Written in Latin.
The BL Royal Manuscript Collection, also known as the Royal Collection, consists of over 2,000 manuscripts that were once owned by the British monarchs, including English and later British kings and queens from the late 12th to the 19th centuries. These manuscripts are notable for their historical and artistic value.
The collection was initially stored in various royal libraries and palaces, such as the Tower of London and Westminster Palace. During the English Civil War in the 17th century and the subsequent Interregnum, many royal treasures, including manuscripts, were dispersed and sold. Some manuscripts were lost, destroyed, or ended up in private hands.
In 1757, King George II donated the Old Royal Library to the British Museum (which later became the British Library), where the manuscripts were integrated into the museum's collections. This marked the formal establishment of the Royal Manuscript Collection within the British Museum.