– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Bede, Baylor, Browning, Balliol


‘Bede to Browning’ exhibition and workshop

for faculty and students of Baylor in Oxford

Baylor at Balliol 4 August 2014


Copy of DSCN9546

This afternoon Fiona and Anna were delighted to be able to return some of Baylor’s wonderful hospitality from their visit to Texas in May in connection with Browning Day and the Browning Letters Project. Dr Josh King, who is about to take up the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Victorian Studies at Baylor, visited St Cross with several colleagues and two groups of ten students each and led a workshop based on Balliol manuscripts on display ‘from Bede to Browning.’

Dr King’s choice of manuscripts fell into several categories to complement the different strands of the Baylor in Oxford programme, principally British Literature and The Oxford Christians. In addition to drawing connections with their current studies, the students had the opportunity for direct contact with some of the manuscripts. They discussed the layers of composition evident between manuscript drafts and printed editions of poems, and enjoyed reading Hopkins’ ‘Duns Scotus in Oxford’ and ‘As kingfishers catch fire’ in close proximity to a Scotus manuscript produced in Oxford and one of Hopkins’ student essays.

Western medieval manuscripts – theological texts

MS 175, second half of the 12th century. Includes Bede’s commentaries on the Biblical books of Solomon (ff.1-93v) and Tobit (ff.94-103v).

Copy of DSCN9540

MS 42, late 13th century. Part II of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.

Copy of DSCN9543
MS 234, first half of the 14th century. Duns Scotus’ Quaestiones on the Metaphysics of Aristotle.

Copy of DSCN9541

A modern medievalist

Maxwell papers 1.29, letter from C.S. Lewis, 1960.



Victorian poets

Matthew Arnold (Balliol 1840)

Autograph manuscript of “Written in Kensington Gardens”

Copy of DSCN9549

Autograph manuscript of “Culture and its Enemies”


Autograph manuscript of “St. Paul and Protestantism”

ALS from Robert Browning. Warwick Crescent, London. 20 February 1872.

Passport of Matthew and Mrs. Matthew Arnold (no. 8821), issued 28 August 1851 [used by Arnolds on their honeymoon]


Ambrotype portrait of Matthew Arnold (Sept. 10 1856)


Autograph letter to Mary Penrose Arnold Oxford. “Sunday.” [October 1854?].

Autograph letter to William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98). Fox How. 15 August 1883. 1 l. with MS note by Gladstone.

Copy of DSCN9539


Robert Browning (Hon Fellow of Balliol 1867)

MS 390. Pacchiarotto and How he Worked in Distemper (1876) showing pages containing “Pisgah I” and “Pisgah II”


MS 394, showing ALS from RB to George Eliot, 1878 [in MS 394]


MS copy by RB of Charles Dickens’ appraisal of A Blot in the ‘Scutcheon


Ring (Browning’s ring, but not the ring of The Ring and the Book)


The ‘Old Yellow Book’ (statements in Italian and Latin re the 1698 Franceschini case)

Portrait of Guido Franceschini


Browning family photograph album with oak cover

Copy of DSCN9545

laurel leaves from the casket of RB in Venice, 1889

Copy of DSCN9559


Arthur Hugh Clough (Balliol 1836)

manuscript draft of The Bothie  and Clough’s own copy of the first edition, first page

Copy of DSCN9538

Manuscript student journal, first page

Copy of DSCN9536

Copy of DSCN9537

Copy of DSCN9558

Gerard Manley Hopkins (Balliol 1863)

student essay, “Poetic Diction”

George Gordon, Lord Byron

MS 406 manuscript of unfinished poem “The Monk of Athos”

Copy of DSCN9560


Percy Bysshe Shelley

MS 405, Original autograph letter to AB Periera [sic], 16 September 1815.

Copy of DSCN9544


One response

  1. Rita S. Patteson

    What a joy to see the exhibition selected for the Baylor in Oxford group headed by Dr. Josh King, and thank you Anna and Fiona for your part in making this happen. It’s ALMOST as nice as being there in person. Very best wishes to you all. Rita Patteson, Director of the Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

    August 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

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