A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Bodl. 972

Summary Catalogue no.: 28066


Arnold von Harff, Reisebericht

The Travels of Arnolt van Harffe from Cologne to Italy, Egypt, Palestine and India, and back by Madagascar, the Upper Nile, Constantinople, and France, in 1496-99. These are illustrated with 47 coloured drawings.

On fol. 3 is a note by the scribe (?) on the maternal descent of the author.

Colophon: (fol. 162) Anno 1554 B.I.P.
Language(s): German

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: paper
Extent: 169 leaves (i + 159 + i medieval)
Dimensions (leaf): 276 × 195 mm.
Dimensions (written): 190-5 × 120-5 mm.


1 col., c. 29-34 lines.




Miniatures (coloured drawings), good initial. Copy of an original of c. 1500. (P&A i. 190, pl. XIV)

Coloured miniatures.



Blind-rolled leather over boards. One of the roulettes employed bears LEX prosenpata, 1563, P.B, others mors ero mors tva, and Ecce virgo conci (with '1563 NP'), in combination with religious subjects, also in the cent.re of one panel is a small crucifix with O iesv FILI dei, all gilt. 'A° 1580' is also stamped on a panel, possibly an addition. The edges are partly chamfered, and one of the two clasps is lost.


Origin: 1554 ; German

Provenance and Acquisition

In 1654 the book was owned by F. W. van Klipping, who wrote some verses etc. on fol. 167.

On the inner front cover are an inscription and a printed bookplate, both nearly erased, and on fol. 1 is an English letter from Karl Etter of London, presenting the volume and his Russian Diploma (not found) to the Library, Nov. 5, 1813.

Acquired in 1813.

Record Sources

Description adapted (May 2019) from the following sources:
A. G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.435-1600 in Oxford Libraries (Oxford, 1984), no. 125 [physical description, origin]
Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford, I (1966), no. 190 [decoration]
Summary Catalogue (1905) [contents, binding, provenance]

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (17 images from 35mm slides)