Vision of Benedict and Paul from BL Royal 6 E VI, f. 16
Detail of a miniature in three compartments of the Vision of Benedict and Paul with the Holy Face adored by Benedict and Paul, and the Fall in the midst of the planetary spheres, adored by kneeling male and female figures. Image taken from f. 16 of Omne Bonum (Absolucio-Circumcisio). 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.
Omne Bonum (Absolucio-Circumcisio) is a 14th-century encyclopedia compiled in London. It is known as the earliest work of this kind where the topics are arranged in alphabetical order. The work is unfinished, containing only one entry each under the letters N to Z. It survives in four volumes in the manuscripts and was composed and written by James le Palmer (?1327-1375) between c. 1360-1375. The encyclopedia includes more than 650 illustrations of four illustrators. It was acquired by the Upper Library at Westminster between 1542 and 1666 and was presented to the British Museum in 1757.