British Library

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British Library,

national library of Great Britain, located in London; one of the world's great libraries. Long a part of the British MuseumBritish Museum,
the national repository in London for treasures in science and art. Located in the Bloomsbury section of the city, it has departments of antiquities, prints and drawings, coins and medals, and ethnography.
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, the library collection originated in 1753 when the government purchased the Harleian LibraryHarleian Library
, manuscript collection of more than 7,000 volumes and more than 14,000 original legal documents, formed by Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, and his son Edward, 2d earl of Oxford.
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, which belonged to Sir Robert Bruce CottonCotton, Sir Robert Bruce,
1571–1631, English antiquarian. The Cottonian collection of books, manuscripts, coins, and antiquities became a part of the British Museum when it was founded in 1753.
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, and groups of manuscripts. The collection grew four years later when George II donated his royal library, and was considerably enlarged with the addition of George III's library in 1823. It flourished in the 19th cent. under the leadership of Sir Anthony PanizziPanizzi, Sir Anthony
, 1797–1879, British librarian, b. Italy. A political exile, Panizzi settled in England in 1823 and was naturalized in 1832. He was associated with the British Museum library as assistant librarian (1831–37), keeper of printed books
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. The library remained a part of the museum until 1973 when it was made a separate entity by act of Parliament. The museum complex was famous for its large, copper-domed Round Reading Room, for 140 years (1857–1997) the haunt of an array of scholars, authors, and other luminaries. In 1997 the library was moved to vast new quarters at London's King's Cross. Designed by British architect Colin St. John Wilson, the new library is spacious and multileveled, with four large reading rooms and several exhibition areas. Traditionally a nonlending reference library with manuscript and printed books divisions, the British Library now has large lending and bibliographic departments and is the copyright depository library for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. By the beginning of the 21st cent. it housed some 150 million items, including books, magazines, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, prints, drawings, musical scores, patents, various kinds of sound recordings, and stamps. The library also maintains an online catalog. Outstanding works in its collection include a unique papyrus of Aristotle, four original Magna Cartas, Beowulf, the 4th-century Greek Codex Sinaiticus Bible, a Gutenberg Bible, Froissart's Chronicles, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, and the Diamond Sutra (868), probably the oldest surviving printed book.

Bibliography

See N. Barker, Treasures of the British Library (1988); A. E. Day, The British Library (1988) and Inside the British Library (1998).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Boke was never printed, and the reference under which it appears in Hoche's Appendix A, London, BL MS Harley 838, has no relation to the Worcester text at all, and is in fact a volume of heraldic miscellanea which contains the only surviving manuscript of Anthony Babyngton's English translation of Christine's Epistre Othea.
BL MS Harley 5272 and Cambridge, Jesus College MS 46 introduce a linking paragraph to join the two texts together, truncating the usual conclusion of the Abbey and summarizing its content as a prelude to introducing the matter of the Charter:
There will soon be published a full edition of MS Harley 2253 in which texts in their original languages are set beside modern translations.
(46) The Second Nun's Tale retained its distinctive identity in some fifteenth-century manuscripts in which it appears separate from the Canterbury Tales sequence, as in British Library MS Harley 2382 and Manchester, Chetham's Library MS 6709, in both of which it occurs with Chaucer's Prioress' Tale, and Lydgate's Life of Our Lady.
Manuscripts in which are copied one or more texts apparently derived from Shirley's manuscripts are BL MS Additional 34360; BL MS Harley 2251; Cambridge, MA, Harvard University, Houghton Library MS Eng.
from British Library MS Harley 874, termed Va (Version a) to distinguish it from another, unpublished version, Vb (Version b), found in MSS BL Harley 171 and 1203, and Cambridge, Magdalene College MS 5 (F.4.5).
London, British Library, MS Harley 2915, Book of Hours, Sarum use, in Latin and French, c.
The format of the booklet is too small to allow to be read easily the facsimiles of pages from British Library MS Harley 6018, the catalogue of his manuscripts begun by Sir Robert Cotton himself, of the catalogue now British Library Addit.
Thus we find manuscripts such as British Library MS Harley 2278, a deluxe copy of Lydgate's Lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund, produced at Bury St.
Brief mention occurs in the continuation based on MS Harley 53: `Then come the Kyng to Caleys with his prisoners, and thankit God of that gloriose victory, and Saint George, which halpe hym to fighte, and was seyne abouen in the eyre, that day they faught' (Brie, 557).
The scribe also copied London, British Library, MS Harley 874 (the prose Apocalypse, an early London prose translation also in the preceding; a fragment of a South English Legendary text).
(8) The reading for is attested from Bassadyne's print of 1571, Charteris print of 1570, and British Library MS Harley 3865, whereas the Bannatyne MS and Smith's print of 1577 show of.