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London, British Library, Add. 22912


Additional Information

  • Appr. Date: 17th c. (17th c.)
  • Genres: Varia
  • Illustrations: Yes


The British Museum Additional Manuscripts 22912 – 22914 are most conveniently treated together, being autographs of the same man acquired together. For Covel’s significance, see the bibliography and online resources; for an edition, see Grélois in the bibliography. (For Ricci, see p. 76 of the abstract in online resources.)

The first of three fascinating journals of the scholar, cleric and traveler John Covel (Brit. Mus. Add. 22912-22914), with his own sketches and observations of his travels.

The entry from the Catalogue of Additions (1854-1860) is as follows, in full:

22,912  AUTOGRAPH journal of Dr. John Covel during his travels in Asia and Italy; 1670-1678. Accompanied by plans, sketches, copies of inscriptions, etc.  At f. 393 b is a printed broadside, entitled, “The Wondrus flittinge of the Kirk of ovr B. Ledy of Loreto. In Loreto per Francesco Serafini MDCXXXV.;” and at f. 395 b is the same in Welsh.  Paper.  Folio.

A partial edition of the journals was made by Grélois (see bibliography), but this is an unsatisfactory work (and sometimes inaccurate, where we have compared it with the manuscript), because it greatly levels out what is a very complex set of artifacts: various quires (with authorial pagination), various languages, different kinds of handwriting, &c. For instance, he will sometimes describe something verbally and then say “like this”, and make a drawing in the same line of text. The effect is personal and conversational, and this force simply cannot be relayed with a transcription overly “établi”. An ideal edition would in fact be a facsimile, with a companion volume of transcriptions and notes).

There are other British Library manuscripts having to do with Covel as well, notably British Museum/Library Additional 22909 (where Covel copied out, and made a Latin translation of, Nectarius of Jerusalem) and BM Harleianus (Harley) 5059 (which includes Covel’s annotations to an autography of Metrophanes Critopoulos, which was presented to him by the same). Harley 5537, 5557, 5573, 5613, 5576, 5579 and 5787 were each owned by Covel; there may well be others we are not aware of. See BM Add. 22911 (fols. 180-183) for Covel’s own catalogue. For Covel’s connection to Turkish manuscripts, cf. Add. 22910 (Rieu pp. 90sq.), Add. 22911 (Rieu p. 199) and Harley 5486 (pp. 233sq.)

For his contemporary from the Cambridge of Richard Bentley, cf. Cantab. Trinity O.5.35 (our WEST.CAMK.2.2), a journal of the great Thomas Gale.