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These were mostly acquired or purchased from diplomats, travellers, and government officials, two major collections being those of Claudius James Rich (1786-1821) and Richard Johnson (1753-1807).
The India Office collection also includes the residual Mughal Imperial Library dating from 1858.
Many of the Persian manuscripts are copies of rare texts.
Among the many artistic highlights are the illustrated of Niẓāmī illustrated by Bihzād and artists of his school in the late 15th century (Add.
The cost of this work was prohibitively high, even for a museum, and it was only after an extensive public appeal that sufficient funds were raised for work to go ahead.
There can be little doubt that in this case the end justified the means.
William Morris, then an art referee for the V&A, was instrumental in the acquisition.Other fragments have appeared on the market from time to time.The knot density is actually higher on the Los Angeles carpet.MS.25900 and Or.6810), and many other fine Tīmurid manuscripts; from the Safavid period, Shah Ṭahmāsb's copy of Niẓāmī’s As part of our current project Digital Access to Persian Manuscripts 50 manuscripts of major importance have been digitised; these are all available on Digitised Manuscripts.Details of these, with catalogue descriptions and bibliographical references, can be found on our dedicated project page.