John Dee (1527-1609), mathematician, astrologer, and antiquary, and model for Shakespeare’s Prospero, owned one of the most significant private libraries in Elizabethan England. A fine facsimile of the Trinity College, Cambridge manuscript O.4.20 – John Dee’s Library Catalogue – was originally published by the Bibliographical Society in 1990 and edited by Julian Roberts and Andrew G. Watson. Unfortunately, this edition, which also included a complete list of Dee’s printed books, has been out of print for some years. In 2009 Roberts and Watson published their latest update online via the Bibliographical Society’s website:
It describes the current location of further items included in Dee’s catalogue with additional useful interpretation.
As part of its ongoing manuscript digitization project, and in the hope of further assisting researchers interested in Dee, Trinity has made a virtual manuscript of John Dee’s library catalogue publically available:
Furthermore, a major exhibition of books owned by John Dee is planned by the Library of the Royal College of Physicians, London, during the first half of 2016 and this will include O.4.20.